Often hailed as the most popular and the largest cruise line, Carnival didn't make it to number one on its own. It's had a lot of direction from CEO Bob Dickinson. Who is this man and what measures has he taken to make sure every passenger has a blast when sailing on a Fun Ship�?
A former employee of both Ford Motor Company and RCA, Dickinson achieved the position of executive vice president of Carnival in 1972. In 1993, he was promoted to president and a short time later added CEO to that title.
With a strong marketing and operational vision for the cruise line, Dickinson has brought this once fledgling company to superstar status through his unique innovations. In fact, he is so admired in the industry that Dickinson was named "1999 Travel Executive of the Year" by Travel Trade magazine. He was also awarded a position in Advertising Age magazine�s 100 Best Marketers in the Nation.
Part of his management savvy is due to his willingness to participate in programs such as PBS's Back to the Floor where six top bosses were taken from the top floor of their high-rise office buildings and demoted to blue-collar workers within their own companies. From cleaning cabins to waiting tables to sweating it out as a poolside bar server, Dickinson hung with the other employees during a weeklong cruise aboard the Carnival Imagination.
He took the time to listen and learn about employee complaints firsthand, such as the pink shirts poolside staff must wear. Joking about the "polyester-lead blend" material, Dickinson discovered just how personal management decisions about every aspect of the employee work environment can be.
An avid wine collector, Dickinson has pressed hard to create a truly impressive and virtually unmatched collection within the Carnival fleet. With over 18,000 bottles in his personal wine cellar, Dickinson says wine is more than a hobby, naming it as interesting, complex and a living thing. And his favorite bottle of wine on the Carnival wine list? A 1998 Legacy California Cabernet that sells for $50.
Often giving countless bottles of wine away for charity, the Carnival CEO quotes a net figure for one year of $800,000 raised for philanthropic purposes primarily due to wine. Dickinson's passion has recently extended to his business life as well. Carnival launched its first ever Wine Cruise aboard Liberty in December 2005. It was such a hit - being hailed by some as "the most outstanding wine-related event" - that the cruise line has scheduled a sequel for December 3, 2006.
This seven-day itinerary sails to Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. During the voyage, passengers can take part in numerous wine-related activities, including seminars and lectures about every aspect of wine from its history to the science behind creating different varieties. And, of course, wine tastings are a focal point of the week.
While guests are not required to be members of Carnival's wine club to participate, they do need to pre-register for the special functions prior to boarding. Your travel agent will have details on all the events and registration procedures.
Dickinson will undoubtedly influence Carnival's efforts as well as those of its sister companies (including Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises) continuing the success of each. What's the key? How has he been able to build and hold fast to the number one position for so long? When asked, Dickinson replied that it was all about taking the mystery out of cruising, making it affordable to the average person and putting the customers' experiences first. Truly, Carnival has achieved the status as the cruise line for every man.
Roy Witman is Vice-President of Cruise Vacation Center at http://www.cruisevacationcenter.com offering the best deals including
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