The world changed on March 11, 2020, when the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic.
Countless businesses and industries were in limbo, with no idea what the future would hold. One of the hardest-hit industries was commercial cruise lines.
Now, Miami-born company Carnival Cruises has a lot to celebrate, including a milestone in business.
“This year, this 50th birthday celebration is even that much more meaningful to our team given the last two years,” said Carnival’s president Christine Duffy. “We were the only industry that was completely shut down from operations, in the United States.”
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Fifty years is a long time in service. The company was originally founded in 1972 by Ted Arison, an immigrant from Tel Aviv. In the span of 50 years, it has grown to be one of the most well-known companies in the world, employing more than 40,000 people.
“It’s truly a celebration of a brand that has become iconic,” said Duffy. “We are America’s cruise line, sailing year-round from 10 U.S. homeports and celebrating 50 years of fun.”
Duffy said the founder’s vision allowed the company to thrive.
“Ted Arison was our founder,” Duffy said. “His son Arison has worked in the company from the start, today he’s chairman of Carnival corporation.”
According to the company, Arison moved to the United States in 1952, in search of new business opportunities. He first took his family to New York, then to Miami in 1966 where he helped co-founded the Norwegian Cruise Line.
The partnership broke up, but Arison’s dream didn’t die with it.
“He had the opportunity to purchase a ship,” Duffy said. “That ship was named TSS Mardi Gras.”
It was the first voyage for the new company revolutionizing the cruising industry.
According to the company, before Carnival, cruising was for the rich and famous, but Arison priced his line for everyday people.
“At our heart, we are still carnival family,” Duffy said. “Which is what Ted Arison, our founder, believed in. Having cruise vacations accessible to everyone.”
Carnival has grown from the single vessel to a fleet of 23 ships, each is set to be fully operational by May to serve for passengers for years to come.
“The stories and outpouring of love for this brand,” Duffy said. “What we stand for from our guests really is just so inspiring, and I think that’s what we’ll continue to lean into for the next 50.”