Last updated: 10:28 AM ET, Mon November 04 2013

Carnival Chairman Micky Arison Thanks Agents in Open Letter

Travel Agent | Carnival Cruise Lines | Theresa Norton Masek | October 07, 2013

Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison publicly thanks travel agents in an open letter being published in trade publications. “Thanks for all you’ve done to help turn dreams into reality for the 10 million guests who travel with the brands of Carnival each year,” Arison wrote. “We could not have filled the over 100 ships of our 10 lines — week after week — without you. I’ve seen how important you are in every job I have held at Carnival — from my very first as a sales rep, to my role as CEO for over 34 years. Even though much has changed since the days we used berthing books and colored markers to take reservations, what hasn’t changed is the important role you play in our success.”

Roger Frizzell, Carnival Corp.’s senior vice president of corporate communications, said Arison chose to write the letter to express gratitude to agents and introduce them to the new CEO, Arnold Donald. “This is something Micky wanted to do to reach out to the travel agent community to personally thank them for all their support over the years, while also using the opportunity to introduce Arnold as our new CEO,” Frizzell said in an email.

Some Carnival Corp. brands have been reaching out more to agents lately, led by Carnival Cruise Lines, which formally launched Carnival Conversations in June. Many agents were unhappy with certain decisions made by Carnival over the past year, such as changes in commission tiers and the fare structure. After its business and fares dropped this year due to negative publicity over the Carnival Triumph and other ship incidents, the line introduced the Carnival Conversations program, which has led to several changes and incentives for agents. For example, the line has promised to simplify its fare structure this year and also has added the “call your travel professional” call-to-action on its new advertising campaign.

Frizzell said Arison’s letter is not part of the Carnival Conversations campaign. “This is separate from Carnival Conversations. Micky wanted to offer his thanks and appreciation to the agents — many of which he has worked with his entire career — on behalf of all our 10 brands since they have played such a vital role in the success of our company and the growth of our industry,” Frizzell said. “They are expected to play an even more important role going forward as we work together to introduce our product to vast numbers of consumers who have yet to experience the true wonder and amazing value of cruising.”

Arison’s letter also introduces the new CEO, who assumed the role July 3. “An exciting change is that Arnold Donald, who has served on our board for over 12 years, will be leading the corporation as our CEO. You can trust as Chairman, I will work closely with Arnold,” Arison wrote. “And you can be assured both Arnold and I will continue to work closely with you as valued partners. Together, we will continue to work hard to exceed guest expectations and to position Carnival brands as your customers’ cruise lines of choice. So on behalf of our over 90,000 employees, we thank you. You’ve helped us grow to the point where over half of all North American guests cruise aboard one of our ships. Thank you!”

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