Turning around a 100,000 ton cruise ship isn’t easy. Neither is
turning around a giant cruise industry company with 10 brands and 100 ships.
But that’s what Arnold Donald was tasked with doing when he took
over as CEO of Carnival Corp. in July 2013.
Unlike many similar situations, the turnaround wasn’t purely
financial - although the stock has improved under Donald’s stewardship. The
biggest challenge was to lead a recovery from months of terrible publicity and
poor communication by the cruise line during crises that included the
infamous “poop cruise” and the tragic Costa Concordia sinking.
As travel industry website Skift reveals in a lengthy conversation
with Donald, Carnival’s most critical shift under its new leader can be seen in
its focus on getting cruisers to be the brands’ best advocates, from asking
them to help create ad campaigns to offering guests onboard Internet plans
that let them share their trips on social networks while still at sea.
Behind the scenes Carnival is trying to be more nimble than
most companies of its size. It has been proactive on the Cuba front and is
both adding ships in China and building a separate brand targeted at
Carnival is growing too, with 5 new ships coming in 2016 and
plans to create new behemoths that will carry as many as 6,600 pax.
You can read
the entire Skift interview with Donald here.