Laura Hodges Bethge became vice president of Product Development in 2017. With innovation at the core of Royal Caribbean International, she leads two of the fundamental teams conceptualizing the largest global cruise line’s groundbreaking ships, private island destinations, and new experiences introduced throughout the award-winning fleet.
Spearheading the creation of new ideas, Hodges Bethge and her teams push the envelope in the direction of continuous improvement with market research on travel trends and the company’s current and prospective guests. They collaborate with numerous departments in the organization, including Hotel Operations and the ship designers and architects in Newbuild, to bring the line’s unrivaled adventures to life. Among the current lineup of projects, Hodges Bethge is involved in the development of Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day Island Collection – the first, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas, to open in May 2019; the amplification of 10 ships in four years as part of the Royal Amplified program – an investment of more than $1 billion; and the design and construction of six new ships, including the highly anticipated Spectrum of the Seas (April 2019) and Odyssey of the Seas (fall 2020).
Hodges Bethge joined Royal Caribbean in 2000 to lead the fleet accessibility program for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, and she has since gained nearly two decades of experience in leadership roles within various areas of the business: housekeeping, marine operations, finance and administration, sales and investor relations. Most recently, she was based in Shanghai as vice president of Market Development, a role she took on after overseeing the cruise line’s overall product marketing communications to guests for new onboard offerings such as Royal Suite Class and VOOM – the fastest internet at sea, and the longstanding Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program.
In the South Florida community (her hometown), Hodges Bethge is on the board of Easterseals, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of people and families with disabilities. She also supports efforts aiding the Police Officer Assistance Trust (POAT), a nonprofit organization that assists officers and their families in times of need.
The Florida native attained a bachelor’s degree in psychology, followed by an MBA in international business and finance, from Florida International University. Today, she lives in Miami with her husband.