Cruising with Carnival on Talking Points

Dec 6, 2019

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As we continue Cruise Week on “Talking Points,” hop on board and sail more of the high seas — this time with Carnival Corporation’s President and CEO Arnold Donald. He and The Points Guy himself discuss Carnival’s nine cruise line brands. They also talk about how riding a roller coaster on Carnival Mardi Gras or attending an Oxford lecture on the RMS Queen Mary 2 — the only ocean liner in the world — could become your new favorite vacation activity.
3 key takeaways from this episode:
  • Carnival’s disaster relief
  • Efforts toward environmental management and sustainability in cruising
  • Tech advancements creating seamless onboard experiences
Donald explains that cruising isn’t really a subculture and if passengers have the right cruise experience, they become cruisers for a lifetime. It’s about choice.
“There’s very different types of experiences depending upon what people are looking for. It’s no one thing that fits everybody,” he says. “Some people, they don’t want the water parks and the roller coasters and all that. Other people, they love that. So what you do is you create different experiences across the brands.”

Carnival’s empire is massive. With more than 100 ships heading to more than 700 destinations, and the world’s sixth-largest ship joining its fleet in 2020, Donald explains on the podcast that they don’t even consider other cruise lines competitors. Carnival is the largest cruise operator in Miami. Carnival ships also have a longer life expectancy than a typical aircraft, says Donald, explaining that Carnival keeps a ship for about 25 to 30 years, and then usually sells them for other uses such as island cruising or floating hotels.

Loyalty is a big part of what drives growth for the cruise line. Each of Carnival’s brands has its own program and is a “badge of honor” that a guest treasures. Donald says that Carnival ensures that they reward and enrich a passenger’s experience for their loyalty. The crew is a big part of that.

Carnival has “150,000 passionate, dedicated, committed employees whose human spirit level is so high because their goal is to do the right things in the environment and in the communities we touch, but also they exceed our guests’ expectations. Their spirit is sky high. I thrive on the energy of our people,” says Donald.

Donald also discusses Carnival’s $20-million settlement for polluting the ocean and how the cruise line is doubling down on sustainability efforts.

“One mistake is one too many. One misstep is one too many. We need to learn from any mistakes made or any missteps made, make certain we don’t repeat those, but also learn from those to try to mitigate any possible future ones that can happen,” he says.
Play this episode above, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Feature image by Gene Sloan / The Points Guy

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