Carnival Cruise Line is an international cruise line with headquarters in Doral, Florida. Currently, Carnival is the largest cruise line in the world, based on passengers carried annually, annual revenue, and total number of ships in fleet.
Carnival is one of ten cruise line brands owned by the world’s largest cruise ship operator, the American-British Carnival Corporation & plc. In 2018 Carnival Cruise Line was estimated to hold an 8.9% share of cruise industry revenue and 22.0% of passengers. It has 26 vessels and is the largest fleet in the Carnival group. The ships fly flags of convenience: 18 of the ships fly the Panama flag, six that of the Bahamas and two that of Malta. Its headquarters are in Miami, Florida, United States. The North American division of Carnival Corporation has executive control over the corporation and is headquartered in Doral, Florida.
Carnival Cruise Line was founded in 1972 by Ted Arison. To finance the venture, Arison turned to his friend Meshulam Riklis, who owned Boston-based American International Travel Service (AITS). Arison and Riklis set up the new company as a subsidiary of AITS. AITS was to market and promote the new venture. In 1974, due to regulatory issues, Riklis sold AITS’s interest in the company to Arison for $1, but subject to Arison taking over the substantial company debts. The split enabled Arison to enter into new relationships with independent travel agents. He also promoted his cruises to fun-loving younger people. The format was very successful financially. Until 1975, the line consisted of only one ship, the Mardi Gras. In 1975 another ship was acquired, the Carnivale.
In 1996, Carnival Destiny of 101,000 GT became the largest passenger ship in the world at the time and first to exceed 100,000 tons.
In 2001, Robert H. Dickinson, then President and CTC, participated in a BBC documentary, Back To The Floor. Dickinson went to work at the lowest crew levels on the MS Imagination in the Caribbean, where he shadowed a Romanian cleaner, Alina.
In 2004, Carnival Corporation initiated a development program for Carnival’s new ships, the Pinnacle Project, calling for a 200,000 GT prototype, which would have been the world’s largest cruise ship at the time. The ship was cancelled, but they then developed a project called Next Generation.
In 2009, Carnival released their biggest ship at the time, the Carnival Dream, a new 128,000 GT ship. Carnival Dream entered service on 21 September 2009. After several voyages in the Mediterranean, she was set to offer weekly Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral from 5 December 2009. A sister ship, Carnival Magic, debuted on 1 May 2011. On 1 December 2009 it was announced that Carnival had placed an order for a third Dream-class vessel. It entered service in June 2012 and its homeport is now Galveston. On May 10, 2010, Carnival selected a name for their new Dream-class vessel in 2012 – Carnival Breeze.
On 26 October 2012, it was announced that Carnival had ordered a brand new 133,500 GT ship for their Carnival Cruise Line brand. This ship, built by Fincantieri, was the largest ship they have ever built. It sailed its maiden voyage on May 1, 2016. The new ship was named Carnival Vista.
In January 2017, Michael Thamm was appointed CEO of Carnival Asia to oversee operations in China and the surrounding region.
A sister to Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, joined the fleet with their inaugural voyages from Trieste, Italy and Barcelona, Spain on May 1, 2016 and April 2, 2018, respectively. Queen Latifah is the Godmother of Horizon for its christening in New York on May 23, 2018.
Carnival Panorama is set to join the fleet in December 2019.
In February 2018, the company’s officials unveiled a major port development project in Ensenada, Mexico.
Reports in late June 2019 stated that Carnival was building their first terminal in Japan, in the port city of Sasebo, to be named Uragashira Cruise Terminal. Local officials were hoping that the terminal would be open by late July 2020.
In 2012 the company was reportedly paying cruise ship staff basic salaries equivalent to £0.75 per hour. For example, a junior waiter would earn a basic salary of £250 a month for shifts lasting at least 11 hours, seven days a week. In response to this controversy, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Brendan Barber, commented: “It’s high time the disgraceful practice of allowing the shipping industry to pay poverty wages to workers who don’t live in the UK was stopped. Exploitative rates of pay for those working on British ships have no place in a modern society.” In October 2013, Carnival revoked retirement benefits for cruise staff.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, three of the Carnival cruise ships were chartered by the United States government for six months to serve as temporary housing until the houses can be rebuilt. After being chartered for six months, their planned voyages were cancelled, and passengers were refunded. Holiday was originally docked in Mobile, Alabama, and later Pascagoula, Mississippi, and Ecstasy and Sensation were docked at New Orleans, Louisiana. The six-month contract cost $236 million. The contract was widely criticized, because the vessels were never fully utilized, and Carnival received more money than it would have earned by using the ships in their normal rotation.
Since 2017, Carnival Corporation has been on probation, after having been found to “illegally dumping oil into the ocean from its Princess Cruises ships and lying about the scheme.” Carnival Corporation also had to pay a $40 million fine. The Court summary states that “Princess was convicted and sentenced in April 2017, after pleading guilty to felony charges stemming from its deliberate dumping of oil-contaminated waste from one of its vessels and intentional acts to cover it up”.
In April 2019, Carnival Corporation was accused of violating probation rules. The allegations include 800 incidents from April 2017 to April 2018. A federal judge has threatened to impose severe fines which may increase tenfold. The judge also stated that Carnival ships may be temporarily banned from docking in US ports. In early June 2019, Carnival Corp. agreed to pay $20 million in fines in an agreement with federal prosecutors. The proposed settlement documents were signed by Chairman Micky Arison on June 3, 2019. The next day, a Senior US District Judge approved the deal, and confirmed that probation would continue for three years, after CEO Arnold Donald said, “The company pleads guilty. We acknowledge the shortcomings. I am here today to formulate a plan to fix them”. The company promised to implement additional audits to check for violations, to provide improved training to staff, to start improved waste management practices and to set up a more effective method for reporting pollution incidents to government agencies.
In June 2019 it was reported by NPR that the cruise line giant Carnival Corporation and its Princess subsidiary agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $20 million for environmental violations such as dumping plastic waste into the ocean. Princess Cruise Lines has already paid $40 million over other deliberate acts of pollution.
Information courtesy of Wikipedia.