(10:20 a.m. AEST) – Christine Duffy, the Miami-based president of Carnival Cruise Line is in Sydney this week to complete her goal to see all 25 ships in the fleet within her first year in the top job. Accompanied by Carnival Cruise Line’s Australia vice president Jennifer Vanderkreeke, she spent Wednesday on Carnival Spirit and will spend Saturday on Carnival Legend, before jetting off to San Juan to finish her mission on Carnival Liberty.
Her visit did not come with a big announcement for Australians. Legend, based in Sydney for two-thirds of the year, will not be staying year-round, and a third ship is not yet on the horizon. But both ships are here for the long haul, with berths booked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal through to 2020.
“For now, that’s our plan, and it’s probably good measure for us,” Duffy told media at Sydney’s Lord Nelson pub, where the line’s Thirsty Frog beer is brewed. “Our growth in Australia has already been rewarded with more capacity.”
The line’s next new ship, Carnival Vista, is set to be the most family-friendly, Duffy said, with a dedicated family lounge, family cabins that can be “sectioned off” to give parents privacy, make-your-own icecream at Cherry on Top, the Sky Ride with bicycles suspended above the top deck, and a massive water park. Vista will sail in Europe and the U.S.
Vanderkreeke also revealed that Australian passengers had inspired a fun change on American ships, with the launch of Serenity Nights on the adults-only Serenity deck, which had previously had no entertainment in other countries.
“The idea is that Serenity is supposed to be serene, but it never happened that way here. Aussies are social, gregarious, fun, so we broke the rules and put a guitar player out there, particularly for sailaways, because it’s such a beautiful ambience with the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and the music, and Carnival liked that idea so much that they’re launching Serenity Nights in the States on the entire fleet.”
Duffy said Australia and China, which Carnival will enter next year with Carnival Miracle, were a strong part of the growth of cruising.
“Cruising has become so much more popular that if you look at a market like Australia where it has become more penetrated here than in North America, and China, with so many brands now going into China, we’re all going to be working hard to penetrate just a little bit of China — the numbers add up.”
Meanwhile, since 1 January 2016, Carnival’s Australia office has started selling American departures in a bid to get more Australians on U.S and Caribbean cruises.