Today, Arnold Donald, the recently appointed CEO of Carnival Corporation, hosted a number of the travel industry’s leading media outlets including Travel Weekly, The Miami Herald, Cruise Critic, and Cruise Currents among others.
The call began with Donald outlining the past year’s successes, challenges, and organizational changes. Donald first touched on Carnival’s continuing perception recovery following a small dip after a number of highly publicized challenges. Donald stated Carnival has almost completely recovered from the negative publicity, stating Carnival’s brand perception is up 75% compared to last February.
Donald continued the call, explaining a number of entertainment, dining, and partnerships that have come online with Carnival Corporation’s various brands in the past year. The largest programs added included Carnival’s Fun Ship 2.0, Holland America Line’s Dancing with the Stars At Sea, AIDA’s “Who Want’s To Be A Millionaire” program, and Costa’s neoCollection of cruises. The new programs for the brands will allow them to compete and have an edge over their competitor’s.
Donald also noted a number of organizational changes for Carnival Corporation, including the promotion of Alan Buckelew to COO of Carnival Corporation, Stein Kruse’s new role as CEO of the Holland America Group, and Jan Swartz’s promotion to President of Princess Cruises. While these organizational changes won’t impact the guest’s experiences, they will allow Carnival Corporation to work more efficiently with each of their brands. Donald explained, “Each cruise line will remain distinct based on their source of passengers, but starting in 2014, we will change how we work together across the brands, to enable us to leverage our scale.
After Donald has concluded his overview of the company, the floor was opened for questions from the media. Donald fielded a number of questions concerning Carnival Corporation’s relationship with travel agents, to which Donald reaffirmed Carnival Corporation’s commitment and support. Donald also denied any future plans for Carnival Corporation to acquire or launch a river cruise line, stating Carnival Corporation could not obtain the fleet size required to compete with the established lines. Asked about Carnival Corporation’s deployment throughout South Florida, Donald stated Carnival Corporation remains committed to Miami, Port Everglades, and Port Canaveral as homeports for many of the brands. Donald also revealed that Carnival is planning a number of refurbishments for smaller ships, but nothing near the scale as the transformation of the Carnival Destiny into the Carnival Sunshine.
Throughout the call, Donald reiterated Carnival Corporation’s commitment to safety and guest satisfaction as they move into 2014. Donald briefly touched on the new ships launching in the next few years, stating Carnival Corporation will continue to grow each of their brands and ensure they continue to offer the most affordable, most enjoyable cruise products in the market.
Donald concluded the call, thanking the media for taking the time to engage with him and ensured that Carnival Corporation will continue to keep an open dialogue with the media and their guests to ensure the future success of Carnival Corporation.