Azamara Names Dondra Ritzenthaler as Its New CEO

Dondra Ritzenthaler, who retired from her post as senior vice president sales, trade support and service for Celebrity Cruises in April, will be joining small-ship cruise line Azamara in May 2024 when a reported noncompete clause expires. Carol Cabezas, who has been with the company since 2017, most recently serving as its president, will be leaving her role, effective immediately.

Ritzenthaler, a 40-year veteran of the travel industry, had spent the previous 20 years with Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. Prior to that, she spent nearly 20 years with American Airlines in a number of sales and marketing leadership roles. Until Ritzenthaler takes over her new role in May 2024, chair of Azamara, Dan Hanrahan, will provide day-to-day leadership and oversight of the team.

“Azamara provides a unique and exciting offering within the luxury cruise space, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the company into its next chapter,” said Ritzenthaler in a press statement. “I look forward to working with the talented team and their travel partners to better serve the customer base and grow the Azamara brand.”

At the same time, Azamara also announced the addition of Alain Ferzli as chief financial officer, effective immediately. He  has more than 20 years of experience driving profitable growth in the cruise industry. He served as the acting CFO for Virgin Voyages and in various financial leadership roles with Royal Caribbean.

Said Hanrahan on the appointments: “Our team has worked diligently to maintain a solid foundation for Azamara amid unique industry-wide challenges over the last several years. Dondra and Alain’s deep knowledge of and experience leading cruise lines will support the shift of our focus to expanding our business and realizing Azamara’s full potential.”

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