Athanasiou moving over to Celebrity Cruises as VP Sales, the Americas

Athanasiou moving over to Celebrity Cruises as VP Sales, the Americas

MIAMI — Sister cruise lines Silversea Cruises and Celebrity Cruises have announced changes to their sales teams.

Both companies are owned by the Royal Caribbean Group.

Silversea says it’s reorganizing its trade sales team to strengthen support for travel advisors in the Americas. To that end, Joe Leon will now lead the cruise line’s trade sales teams in the region, following Katina Athanasiou’s move to Celebrity.

Leon joined Silversea as Vice President of Field Sales, North America, in 2016 and now has 20+ years of sales experience in the travel industry. Among his expanded responsibilities, Leon will oversee Silversea’s national accounts team, field sales team, and expedition sales team:

NATIONAL ACCOUNTS TEAM: Christian Sierralta, Vice President of National Accounts, will continue to lead Silversea’s national accounts team. Now in his second term at the company, Sierralta joined the cruise line in 2016 and has since overseen the strategic growth of national accounts.

FIELD SALES TEAM: Rachel Woodward, who has been with Silversea for almost 10 years, was recently promoted to the position of Senior Director of Field Sales, and will report to Leon. Rachel counts on the support of 10 Area Sales Directors.

EXPEDITION SALES TEAM: Also reporting to Leon, Karl Kannstadter is the Senior Director of Expedition Sales. Bringing solid expertise in expedition cruise sales, Kannstadter joined Silversea Cruises in January 2018. Since October 2022, his responsibilities have had a global perimeter.

INSIDE TEAM: Marcus Kenny, Director of Business Development and Agency Sales for The Americas, will continue to report directly to Leon.

“The travel advisor community is the lifeblood of Silversea’s success and we are proud to count on the expertise of one of the industry’s strongest trade sales teams, who serves them,” said Mark Conroy, Silversea’s Managing Director, The Americas. “I congratulate Katina on her new role and thank her for her leadership, which has led to the evolution of one of the industry’s most talented teams.”

Athanasiou is joining Celebrity as Vice President of Sales, the Americas, effective Jan. 3, 2023. In this role, she is responsible for driving the sales strategy across trade booking channels in the Americas, including Field Sales, National Accounts, Inside Sales, LATAM Sales, Sales Communication, Training & Development, and Sales Support. She will report to Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales, The Americas.

Athanasiou also has 20+ years of experience in the industry, most recently as Senior Vice President, Sales at Silversea Cruises. Prior to that, she served as Chief Sales Officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, among a variety of other sales management roles for the line’s brands.

“Katina has a proven track record in the travel and hospitality industry, and she really understands how to drive business in the Americas,” said Ritzenthaler. “Her experience and knowledge will be an invaluable asset as our fleet grows and offers a variety of options to sail to every continent.”

“Throughout my career, I’ve watched Celebrity grow as one of the most formidable travel brands and sales teams in the industry,” said Athanasiou. “I’m incredibly honored and proud to now work with Dondra, the team and our partners to continue to launch the innovative Edge Series of ships, along with highlighting the truly unique relaxed luxury ‘resort at sea’ vacation experience only Celebrity provides.”

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