Celebrity Cruises sales exec Dondra Ritzenthaler to retire

Dondra Ritzenthaler, the longtime senior vice president of sales for the Americas for Celebrity Cruises, will retire in May after a 20-year career with the brand.

Ritzenthaler joined Celebrity in 2003 when she became the vice president of sales for the brand. Before that, she worked for 20 years at American Airlines, largely in sales and marketing management.

“The time is simply right for me to start the next phase of my life and recharge my batteries,” she said in an emailed letter to travel partners.

Her retirement comes as the brand president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo prepares to step down at Celebrity Cruises. Lutoff-Perlo will transition to a position at the line’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Group, as vice chair of external affairs. Laura Hodges Bethge will take over as president of Celebrity Cruises on May 1. 

Hodges Bethge comes to Celebrity after serving as Royal Caribbean Group’s executive vice president of shared services operations. In her email, Ritzenthaler said that she expected the brand would reach “exciting new heights” under Hodges Bethge’s leadership.

Ritzenthaler said that the sales and services team would report directly to Hodges Bethge for an interim period.

Dondra Ritzenthaler at Travel Weekly's 2019 CruiseWorld conference. Ritzenthaler was an active speaker, panelist and agent advocate.

During her tenure, Ritzenthaler was a visible advocate for the trade and an active, enthusiastic speaker and panelist.

She addressed several heartfelt comments to advisors in the email. “I want you to know that working with all of you has absolutely been my great honor and the ride of a lifetime,” she wrote. “We truly have done so much together and I couldn’t be prouder of all we have accomplished.”

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