Katina Athanasiou was named Silversea Cruises’ senior vice president of sales, effective Dec. 1.
Athanasiou stepped down as Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief sales officer in June, saying the separation was amicable and due to her decision to delay getting a Covid-19 vaccination, which was a condition of her employment at NCL.
At Silversea, Athanasiou will drive the luxury line’s sales strategy in the Americas across all channels, in a role she says is a “perfect fit.”
“I’m just thrilled to get back to doing what I love for a brand and experience I have so much passion for alongside the best in the industry, the travel advisors who sell Silversea,” she said. “[The brand] really has a spectacular team of people and a fantastic culture that I can’t wait to get started with.”
Silversea chief commercial officer Barbara Muckermann said Athanasiou’s “proven record of developing strong partnerships to deliver successful sales strategies” will be invaluable as Silversea continues on an ambitious growth trajectory.
The line has taken delivery of three ships since summer 2020 and has ordered two hybrid ships in its Project Evolution class.
Athanasiou will report to Mark Conroy, Silversea’s managing director of the Americas, for the second time in her career. She and Conroy worked together 21 years ago at Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, a luxury line that is now Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
“It’s come full circle,” she said. “I started my cruise career at Radisson Seven Seas and I started it with Mark Conroy. So it has been completely serendipitous and really has come full circle to allow me to get back into the luxury space, and I’m so grateful for that.”
Athanasiou joined NCL seven years ago, after the company acquired Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. She said that she did not know if she would return to the cruise industry until the opportunity presented itself. Athanasiou was recently vaccinated.
“I really took a step back and wanted to focus on me and my family,” she said. “I said to myself, people and culture are going to be what drives my next decision. And I’m really excited that I feel like I hit the trifecta with this.”
Silversea, she said, is “right for the luxury traveler today.”
“Silversea has really moved to focusing on unlocking deeper experiences in luxury travel,” she said. “I’m excited that alongside the travel advisor, we become the experience architect to help the traveler get into meaningful experiences across the world with the people that are most important to them.”
And based on what she hears from travel advisors, Athanasiou believes that demand for luxury is strong.
“[They say] the luxury traveler is traveling today and that their luxury business is up,” she said. “People are ready to experience again, and they’re ready to learn from different cultures, experience different cultures and bring back those memories. And they’re doing it today.”
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