CEO Conversations: Carnival Corp.’s Donald on stability and innovation

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, far right, was joined onstage during the CEO Conversation panel by John Chernesky-the-puppet of Princess Cruises. The session was moderated by editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, seated, left.

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, far right, was joined onstage during the CEO Conversation panel by John Chernesky-the-puppet of Princess Cruises. The session was moderated by editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, seated, left. Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada

FORT LAUDERDALE — Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald told an audience at CruiseWorld that being the largest cruise company in the world comes with two key advantages — stability and innovation — that help Carnival’s brands deliver industry-leading results.

The company has more than 100 ships, and it operates in every segment and several global source markets. “One of every two people who cruise go with one of our nine brands,” Donald said, which include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Cunard Line, in addition to the namesake Carnival Cruise Line.

“Because we have such a large portfolio, it’s difficult for anyone thing happening somewhere in the world to take the company down,” Donald said.

Size matters in innovation too. “We have the scale and the capability to take on projects that others can’t,” he said.

A prime example of that is the costly OceanMedallion personalization technology that Carnival developed and rolled out initially on Princess Cruises.

“We invented it,” Donald said. “It’s not off-the-shelf apps.”

Donald ran down a list of developments at various Carnival brands, such as the roller coaster on next year’s Carnival Cruise Line newbuild, the Mardi Gras.

But when he forgot to mention Princess Cruises, a surprise guest made an appearance.

From behind the couch where Arnold was seated, up popped a Muppets-style character designed to look like Princess’ senior vice president of sales and trade marketing, John Chernesky. The puppet ribbed Donald and amused the crowd until the real John Chernesky bounded on stage to complain that the puppet has been impersonating him all over town.

The larger message to the puppet tomfoolery was to billboard the Jim Henson Creature Shop show, called “Inspired Silliness,” that will debut next month on the newest Princess ship, the Sky Princess.

When Donald finally regained the spotlight, he took some time to outline Carnival’s sustainability initiatives and defend the industry’s record.

He said that very little of the estimated 8 million tons of plastics in the ocean comes from ships, much less from cruise ships. “It comes from land; it comes through the rivers and gets into the ocean,” he said, adding, “Having said that, we don’t want anything going in the ocean. He said that Carnival has accelerated existing recycling efforts and processes to eliminate plastics from its waste stream.

Likewise, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, a Carnival brand was the first to use liquified natural gas (LNG) to provide power in port, and Carnival Corp. will be the first to bring an LNG-powered ship to North America, with the Mardi Gras.

“Ultimately we want to get to zero-emission,” Donald said. But he said cruise emissions are a tiny fraction of the global equation. “The reality is if the cruise industry didn’t exist, you wouldn’t be able to measure the difference in emissions,” he said.

P&O Britannia In Midst of Key Refit

Britannia Post refit Atrium

P&O Cruises UK announced that the Britannia will feature refreshed interiors following its October stay at Damen shipyard in Brest. 

The atrium will be given a new lease of life creating a lively social hub at the heart of the ship, day and night, the company said.

This space will have new eye-catching colour schemes, fresh design direction, relaxed entertainment, live music and informal performances all under the sparkling Starburst chandelier.

Following the success of temporary art exhibitions on Britannia, P&O Cruises is introducing a permanent new art gallery next to Blue Bar. The deck 5 experience can be completed by savouring some sweet treats from master pâtissier and Food Hero Eric Lanlard at The Market Café. The popular spot has already benefited from new furniture and décor, as well as a menu with decadent ice cream creations made in an exclusive collaboration with Hampshire dairy, Jude’s, the company said. 

Guests will now have even more reason to check into the Oasis Spa and Salon with the creation of two express spa pods boasting a range of treatments.

On deck 7, Java café will now serve alcoholic drinks; guests can relax with a drink and enjoy the birds-eye view of the action below. Also on deck 7, the photo gallery will include a Dixon’s electronics hub featuring the latest imaging, computing and audio tech from Amazon, Apple, Beats, Bose, Canon, Fitbit, GoPro, Microsoft, and Sony, among others.

Britannia will be back in Southampton on October 23 for a two-night cruise to Bruges (B929) before it’s transatlantic crossing (B930) to the Caribbean.

P&O Cruises confirms an order for a second new ship

P&O Cruises confirms order for second new ship

A second large next-generation cruise ship for P&O Cruises was confirmed on Thursday as the line seeks to attract more first-time cruisers.

The vessel will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and is due to join the fleet in 2022 – two years after a similar sister ship enters service.

The latest order will be 180,000 gross tons and have a capacity for 5,200 passengers, it’s set to be the largest cruise ship to be built specifically for the British market.

Both new ships will be registered in the UK and built by leading German shipbuilder Meyer Werft in Papenburg.

The ship will feature the Carnival Corporation’s exclusive “green cruising” design as one of the first generation of cruise ships to be powered by both while in port and at sea.

This will “significantly reduce” air emissions with the shipping industry’s most advanced fuel technology, the company claims.

The new ship is part of a fleet enhancement strategy with 19 new vessels set for delivery across Carnival Corporation brands between 2018 and 2022.

Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said: “We are seeing the momentum in awareness of cruising both across the media and in our national psyche as ever-increasing numbers of people see first-hand the value for money, unrivalled service and extraordinary onboard experience.

“These two next-generation ships for delivery in the next four years are real and tangible evidence of our absolute optimism for future growth.”

P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow added: “We have a bold and ambitious vision for P&O Cruises to become Britain’s number one holiday choice and we can only do that by increasing our fleet.

“The build for our 2020 ship begins this spring and it will offer all generations of British guests the holiday of a lifetime on the next generation of P&O Cruises ships.

“In four years’ time when her sister ship is launched, adding an additional 22% capacity, we will see an even greater rise in the popularity of cruising across all demographics and all age ranges including both Millennials and Generation Xers.

“Many of them have already learned to appreciate cruising by going on cruises with their families while growing up. Additionally, there are millions more we will attract in the future by retaining the amazing onboard and on-shore experiences and itinerary choices P&O Cruises is known for while reflecting forward-thinking trends and tastes of British holidaymakers.

“This evolution of the guest experience will be evident over the next few years but will be underpinned throughout with in-depth market insight and feedback we receive from the best source: our current, past and prospective guests.

“The first of our new ships will go on sale in September and we will be announcing key elements of the design and build this year.

“Our P&O Cruises signature features in dining and entertainment will be across all our ships, but the space and build of the two new ships allow us to have innovative new experiences to create the most memorable holidays.”

Thomas Weigend, managing director of Meyer Werft, said: “We are very happy to continue our excellent partnership with Carnival Corporation and P&O Cruises.”