Carnival CEO Donald Is Turning The Ship Around

Open Jaw

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 Chinese cruisers.

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.


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