Travel Agent joins travel advisors and travel industry leaders in remembering cruise industry veteran Helen Panagos, 55, vice president of Crystal Destinations, Crystal Cruises, who died on Thursday. While a Crystal executive since 2015, she also had 30-plus years of executive experience for other cruise lines.
“We lost a wonderful colleague and a treasured friend last night,” said Tom Wolber, president and CEO, Crystal Cruises. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, her Crystal family, her friends and everyone she touched.”
Wolber also said: “I will miss her smile, her endless energy, her unwavering optimism and her strength. Helen made an impact on all of us and we were blessed to have had her in our lives. She will be truly missed.”
“Helen was a shining star in the travel industry and in the lives of those who knew her," said Carmen Roig, senior vice president of marketing and sales, Crystal Cruises. "I was privileged to work alongside her for many years, but she was more than a colleague, she was a dear friend and member of the Crystal Family. Our sympathies and thoughts are with Helen’s family as we all grieve for this very special woman. She will be greatly missed and her spirit will always shine bright in our hearts.”
Ruth Turpin, owner, Cruises Etc., a Virtuoso member agency in Fort Worth, TX, was deeply saddened upon learning the news: “Helen was a true representative of all that is good in the travel industry. I have known her for many years with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and recently Crystal. She was always kind, professional and so knowledgeable. She will certainly be missed.”
Originally from New York, Panagos moved to South Florida more than 25 years ago. Panagos literally grew up in the cruise industry, as her uncle was one of the original founders of Celebrity Cruises.
In addition to the cruise lines previously mentioned above, Panagos has served in executive positions at Carnival Corporation’s Seabourn and Cunard brands. Her outstanding performances led to continual promotions due to her successful track record, sources said.
One of her many responsibilities was traveling the globe to create land experiences for cruise guests, and to many agents, she was considered the best in the business at delivering these land experiences.
Edie Rodriguez, Ponant Cruises’ Americas chairwoman, was previously the former president and CEO of Crystal, so she worked closely with Panagos at that luxury line. Rodriguez also has been close friends with both Panagos and Panagos' husband, Rico Floyd.
“Helen was one of the most wonderful people you could ever to hope to meet,” stressed Rodriguez. “While she was an outstanding executive, she was also an amazing mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend to those she loved. She was loved by all and will be greatly missed”
Panagos is survived by her husband, a son, step-daughter, mother, sister, brother and a large extended family.