Despite the extraordinary cost of the ongoing global cruise shutdown for its nine cruise brands, Carnival Corporation has no plans to downsize or consolidate, says CEO and President Arnold Donald.
Speaking to Cruise Critic, he said the world’s largest cruise company will emerge from the global lockdown just as strong.
Donald’s comments came in response to rumours of a planned downsizing after Holland America Line and Seabourn CEOs Orlando Ashford and Rick Meadows left the company, along with confirmed reports of mass layoffs across all nine of its cruise lines.
“At this point, we see no reason to consolidate the brands,” he said. “The reason that we have nine differentiated brands is because they are organized around guests.”
“So as long as there’s a pool of guests large enough to make those brands financially successful and viable, then we’re going to have the brands,” he added.
“There are some ships and maybe even some brands that try to be all things to all people, but that’s not us,” said Donald.
Most Carnival Corporation brands have suspended cruises until August 1st, when the flagship line, Carnival Cruise Line, intends to resume cruises in a phased manner.
However, during the same interview Donald said those previously announced plans may change based on ongoing developments.
“I don’t know when we’ll sail again,” he said. “I think there’s going to be so much more alignment around what makes sense from a public health standpoint regarding this virus in the coming weeks than there has been.”
While all eyes are currently on the CDC and its ‘no sail’ order issued in April, Donald stressed that it isn’t the only public health organisation Carnival is currently working with.
“We go to 700 destinations around the world,” he said. “Everybody’s got their own rules and regulations, and we have to abide by them all.”
Like the CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, the second-largest cruise company in the world, Donald also explained why Carnival Corporation and its nine cruise lines haven’t issued more information about on-board containment measures.
He said that Carnival is reluctant to announce hard and fast changes as the information about the virus keeps evolving, week by week. For example, there were initial concerns that Coronavirus could be spread through cruise ships’ HVAC systems and on surfaces.
Now, however, the CDC has indicated that it is far more likely to be spread through face-to-face interaction.
“You heard a lot about testing early on. Now you hear that it should be multiple testing,” he added. “You heard about temperature checks in the past. Now they’re saying temperature checks may be indeterminate.”
“There’s so much data being generated right now everywhere in the world … things are starting to open up and everybody’s doing it a little bit differently, so there will be lots of data, lots of things to compare and contrast,” he explained.
Donald added that Carnival and its cruise lines will comply with whatever guidelines are issued by the CDC and other government organizations.