Steve Odell has made a somewhat surprising return to Regent Seven Seas Cruises, taking on the newly created role of Chief Sales Officer.
Stepping into the position effective today, Odell makes his comeback with the luxury cruise brand just over 12 months since a re-organisation at Regent’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), saw his early retirement in December 2022. At that time, Odell had been with NCLH for seven years, most recently as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific.
Earlier that year Odell had been inducted into CLIA Australasia’s Hall of Fame.
His exit from NCLH was considered by many in the industry a surprise at the time, and the cruise expert of 35 years has been on ‘gardening leave’ since then.
Speaking exclusively with LATTE last weekend, Odell said he was chuffed to be returning to the brand, which will ultimately see him relocate from Sydney to Miami, reporting directly to Andrea DeMarco, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Odell said he was taken aback by the opportunity, which was presented to him in December while sailing as a guest of Regent aboard the christening cruise of Seven Seas Grandeur from Miami last month. Odell had been considering numerous other “exciting options” within the cruise industry to mark his return, with a couple of roles “pending”, until meeting with Harry Sommer, President and CEO of NCLH, and DeMarco, while sailing in the Caribbean.
“There’s a strong connection between me and these people, and that’s a big advantage,” he said of this opportunity returning to Regent.
“It was a no-brainer for me. I’ve worked with all the team before. I can step back into the company for which I’m very passionate, very quickly. I never really let it go,” he said of his time away from the business.
Odell and his partner, Jay, took maximum advantage of the year off, travelling for eight months visiting family in the UK and Philippines, sailing with Regent on a number of occasions, Silversea to Antarctica and the Kimberley (both for the first time), and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection in the Caribbean.
While still based in Sydney for the next few months, Odell envisages relocating to Miami by around April. Between then and now, he’ll be making multiple trips to RSSC’s headquarters.
The new structure sees Odell report to DeMarco on the global sales remit. Shawn Tubman, SVP of Sales North America and Caroline Smith, MD International will both report to Odell. The former CLIA Australasia Chair (on two occasions) has a long history with both Tubman and Smith.
“This group of people really know luxury, which is the core of the business. There is a lot happening in luxury space, not only in luxury cruise but luxury travel generally, and the people in this team know luxury in detail.”
“I’ll continue to be hands-on and in the public space but I want to be on the street and in front of people – customers and agents – that’s just the style I have and that’s who I am.”
“Having travelled the past eight months, staying in some beautiful places and amazing hotels and fantastic cruises as well, I come to this role with a fresh perspective. I’ve had a year of doing other things and living outside the Regent world, and I think that is going to help me with this new position.”
“When you’ve had a year out thinking about what the future holds you want to make the right decision, something that you know is going to work for you personally,” Odell told LATTE.
“You’ve got to enjoy it along with everything else, and that’s why I’ve landed back at Regent because I know the brand, I know the people, I feel very comfortable with it all and I know exactly what to do.”