A high-level change at the helm of Celebrity Cruises will see the cruise line’s current president and CEO transition to a corporate position while an executive vice president steps up to the top job at the brand.
Cruise line parent company Royal Caribbean Group on April 6 detailed new roles for Lisa Lutoff-Perlo and Laura Hodges Bethge.
Laura Hodges Bethge Is Named President, CEO
Royal Caribbean Group, parent of the Celebrity Cruises brand, announced that the line’s president and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, will become the group’s corporate vice chair of external affairs effective on May 1.
At the same time, Laura Hodges Bethge, currently Celebrity Cruises’ executive vice president, shared services operations, will be named president of the line.
Hodges Bethge joined the company 23 years ago and has held senior positions in product development, hotel and marine operations, sales, marketing, product innovation, market development and investor relations.
She played leadership roles in conceptualizing new ships and private island destinations, including Royal Caribbean Group’s Perfect Day at CocoCay experience.
Hodges Bethge said, “Now 15 ships strong, this is an exciting time for Celebrity Cruises. This year alone, we’ll be welcoming Celebrity Ascent, and reaching key construction milestones in the yet-to-be-named fifth ship in the revolutionary Edge Series. I look forward to building on the incredible achievements of Lisa and this world-class team, as we continue to break boundaries and chart new courses in the industry.”
Outgoing President Known as Trailblazer
Lutoff-Perlo has served as president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises since 2014, overseeing the launch of three Edge-class ships, two expedition vessels and a major fleet-wide revitalization project.
She joined the Royal Caribbean Group as a district sales manager in 1985 and rose to executive-level positions, including senior vice president of hotel operations and executive vice president of operations for Royal Caribbean International.
Widely considered a trailblazer in the cruise industry, Lutoff-Perlo was the first cruise executive to name a female captain of a cruise ship when she appointed Kate McCue to Celebrity Summit in 2015.
Lutoff-Perlo also presided over Celebrity Cruises as it won a major recognition early this year from the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide, which named five Celebrity Cruises’ ships to its Forbes Star Awards list.
Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty said, “Lisa has been instrumental in transforming the Celebrity Cruises brand to what it is today. From helping us introduce the revolutionary Edge Series of ships to advancing the role of women in maritime careers, Lisa has had an incredible career during her time leading Celebrity Cruises, and multiple parts of our Royal Caribbean International brand.”
Liberty also congratulated Hodges Bethge: “With her operational experience, business acumen and deep understanding of our company and the cruise industry, I know Laura is the right person to lead Celebrity Cruises to its next phases of growth.”
Celebrity Ascent to Debut in Late 2023
The new Celebrity Cruises’ president will preside over the launch of the line’s newest ship, the 3,260-guest Celebrity Ascent, under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France and slated to launch in late 2023.
The fourth in the line’s Edge Series, Celebrity Ascent reached a major construction milestone in January 2023 when she was floated out of the shipyard. Work on the 140,600 gross ton vessel continues at her mooring location, prior to sea trials later this year.
Her maiden voyage is slated for December 3, 2023, from Port Everglades. The 7-night Western Caribbean cruise will call at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Puerto Plata. Alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will follow the inaugural voyage.
Celebrity Ascent will also sail two preview cruises before the official maiden voyage. The first is a 4-night Western Caribbean cruise departing November 22, 2023, giving cruisers a Thanksgiving week getaway. The ship will call at Cozumel. The second preview sailing is a 3-night Bahamas cruise departing November 26, 2023, and calling at Nassau, Bahamas.