Carnival Cruise Line is founded by entrepreneur Ted Arison as part of a subsidiary of Boston-based American International Travel Service (AITS). The company’s first cruise ship, the TSS Mardi Gras, runs aground on a sandbar during its inaugural voyage.
Arison purchases Carnival for $1 and the assumption of AITS’ $5 million in debt.
- After growing steadily through the acquisition of existing tonnage, Carnival stuns the cruise industry with its plans to build the Tropicale, which entered service in 1982 and fueled an industry-wide shipbuilding boom.
Carnival completes an initial public offering of 20 percent of its common stock, generating approximately $400 million. This influx of capital allowed the company to begin expanding through acquisition.
Carnival purchases premium cruise operator Holland America Line, niche operator Windstar Cruises, Westours (now called Holland America Tours), a leading tour operator in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies.
Carnival purchases a 25 percent stake in ultra-luxury Seabourn Cruise Line, which at the time consisted of two 208-passenger all-suite vessels. Carnival’s ownership in Seabourn increased to 50 percent in 1996 and the company assumed full ownership 1999.
The company changes the name of its parent company to Carnival Corporation to distinguish between it and its flagship cruise line.
Carnival acquires 50 percent of Costa Cruises, Europe’s leading cruise company and takes 100 percent ownership of the Italian cruise operator three years later.
Carnival acquires a 68 percent stake in the venerable Cunard Line, operator of the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 (Carnival purchases the remaining 32 percent share of Cunard in 1999 and simultaneously takes 100 percent control of Seabourn).
A combination of Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess Cruises – comprised of Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, AIDA, P&O Cruises Australia, and tour operator Princess Tours – is completed, creating the first global cruise company.
Carnival Corporation & plc announced on June 25 its plan to split the roles of chairman and chief executive officer, effective July 3, 2013. Micky Arison will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Arnold W. Donald, a member of the Board of Directors, assumes the role of CEO.
Carnival Corporation & plc is comprised of a portfolio of distinct brands operating in North and South America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Australia. Carnival Corporation & plc’s current fleet comprises more than 100 ships with eight new vessels scheduled for delivery between now and spring 2017.
Launched in June, Fathom’s size, scale and global vision reach beyond what the world has ever seen. The brand will cater to a growing market of consumers who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and aren’t always sure where to begin. Carnival Corporation believes travel is a meaningful way to allow for personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions in the world. Fathom will give travelers a unique opportunity to work alongside local people as part of a larger scale effort that will demonstrably improve lives. Both travelers and local citizens will learn and benefit from the opportunity to work together to achieve sustainable development in these communities.
On May 1, Carnival Corporation's 10th and newest brand made history and set sail from Miami to Havana. The sailing marked the first time in over 50 years that a U.S. cruise line has sailed from the U.S. to Cuba. It is also the first time in decades that Cuban-born individuals have been able to travel by sea to or from Cuba.
Carnival Corporation opens the Arison Maritime Center, a world-class facility dedicated to providing rigorous safety training for its bridge and engineering officers responsible for the navigation and operation of the world's largest fleet of cruise ships. The new 75-million-euro facility in Almere, Netherlands, just outside Amsterdam, is celebrated with a ceremony honoring longtime board chairman Micky Arison and his father Ted, founder of the company.