Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said that the election of Donald Trump as president has the potential to be good for the cruise industry, but he also said he hopes that Trump will do “the right thing” internationally.
Donald made the comment during a conversation with Travel Weekly editor in chief Arnie Weissmann at CruiseWorld, an annual Travel Weekly event in Fort Lauderdale that brings together travel agents and travel suppliers.
Asked by Weissmann for his response to the election, Donald quoted Secretary of State John Kerry, who several years ago said that there are no winners or losers after a U.S. presidential election. “The next morning we all wake up as Americans” who work on problems together, Donald said.
More specifically, Donald said, “On the surface, President Trump will be pro-business. At the same time, I hope he does the right thing internationally. Most of our business is outside the U.S.”
In a follow-up about Cuba, Donald said that despite Trump’s campaign rhetoric about reversing President Obama’s openings toward Cuba, “I’m cautiously optimistic that bringing the two countries together is the right thing to do.”
Earlier this year, Carnival Corp.’s Fathom brand became the first line to regularly shuttle passengers between the U.S. and Cuba in over 50 years.
Donald said Carnival continues to work on a private destination in the Bahamas but isn’t ready to announce anything. Carnival executives have said in the past they have a potential site picked out on Grand Bahama Island.
“We want the right one on the right terms,” Donald said. “We think we have something coming soon, but we don’t want to count the chickens before they hatch, so to speak.”
Donald took the chance to show the audience of several hundred travel agents clips from the new Carnival-produced Saturday-morning network TV shows, such as “Vacation Creation” and “Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin.”
He also regaled the group with a tale of highlights from his rise to CEO of Carnival Corp. He said his initial introduction to Carnival Corp. chairman Mickey Arison was engineered by board member Uzi Zucker, a Bear Stearns partner who also served as an adviser to a private equity firm of which Donald was a part.
He also told about his ambition as an 11th-grader to be a very specific level of manager at a specific type of Fortune 50 company. He said the teachers at the all-boys Catholic high school in New Orleans he attended on scholarship constantly reminded their students to think big.
“Three times a day they told us, ‘Gentlemen, prepare yourselves. You’re going to run the world.'”