Carnival Corp. Cruises Amid Elevated Customer Experience

CEO Arnold Donald has been instrumental in turning things around at Carnival Corporation, which saw its Princess Cruises pay a $40 million fine in December for dumping oily waste into the ocean, with company officials pleading guilty to seven felony charges.

Despite that significant negative feedback, Carnival Corp. is cruising along nicely, thanks to an elevated customer experience.

Three years after Donald assumed his CEO post, Carnival’s net profits have risen to $2.8 billion in 2016, up from $1.8 billion in 2015. Donald wants to grow and modernize the cruise ship company, striking a joint venture with China to access the growing Asian market.

Donald has sparked so much renewed interest in the company, even appearing himself on an episode of Celebrity Apprentice in early February.

“We are clearly benefiting from our efforts to increase cruise consideration through guest experience innovations, creative marketing, and public relations programs,” Donald said during the company’s recent first-quarter earnings call. “We are reaching consumers through multiple touch points and laying the foundation for continued earnings improvement and sustained double-digit returns on invested capital.”

With a large assist from Accenture, Carnival Corp. is on its way to transforming its customer experience.

Carnival recently unveiled a new interactive guest experience platform at The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, something that is aimed at delivering an unprecedented level of guest service and personalization.
Designed to elevate guest service and personalization for millions of vacationers, Carnival Corporation’s new platform revolves around an innovative wearable called the Ocean Medallion, a digital experience portal called the Ocean Compass, and an Internet of Things (IoT) network–which, combined, will help guests get the most out of their vacations.

“Our strategic fleet enhancement plan is also an important part of our measured capacity growth strategy, which includes replacing less efficient ships with newer, larger, and more efficient vessels,” Donald said. “We’ve already established a strong foundation and a leading presence in China through both our Costa and Princess brands. Despite the recent itinerary changes for Korea, our development strategy is progressing this year. The first, purpose build ships for China delivered to our Princess brand later this week; meanwhile, Costa will expand its home force in China with filling some [indiscernible] next month. And then there is Q1; after our historic buildings to Cuba with our Fathom brand, we have recently received approval for cargo group lines to feature Cuban ports. We continue to contain costs and we remain on-track to deliver more than $75 million in savings this year.”

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