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4,004 Posts
  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Operating Traditional Liners
  • 3 American Passenger Shipping
  • 4 Arison's Cruise Revolution
  • 5 The birth of Carnival
  • 6 Carnival's first newbuildings
  • 7 Public floatation of Carnival's shares
  • 8 Increased hostility with rivals
  • 9 Holland America
  • 10 The retirement of Ted Arison
  • 11 The cruise fleets in 1990
  • 12 Continuation
  • 13 Bibliography
  • 14 Photographs
    • 14.1 Carnival Corporation History

The Arison family has only been involved in passenger shipping for 40 years. During that time they have created Carnival Corporation and turned it into the largest cruise business in the world. This article covers the history of Carnival up to the retirement of Ted Arison in 1990. A second article takes the history up to the acquisition of P&O Princess in 2003 and a third article continues the story.

Ted Arison entered shipping at a time when it appeared that the world of large passenger ships was ended for ever. He realised however, that there was still an opportunity for passenger ships in the leisure market, provided they met contemporary accommodation standards. Some of the great passenger liner companies tried to switch their ships into the cruise market, without understanding that traditional passenger liners were completely unsuited for full-time cruising.

There are always some people who are willing to undertake an uncomfortable holiday for nostalgic reasons or to challenge the elements, by camping or yachting for example. The great majority of people however, expect their holiday accommodation to be not too inferior to the standards they have in their home. In this respect most passenger liners were not fit for purpose. Arison realised that ship's accommodation needed to be radically improved. In the 1970s a few others followed his ideas and provided modern specialist cruise ships. As a result American cruise passenger numbers rose from 570,000 in 1970 to 1,600,000 in 1985. By contrast the UK market was only offered clapped-out old liners and cruise passenger numbers fell from 150,000 in 1974 to only 100,000 in 1981. In 1982, with Canberra in the Falklands Campaign the number was down to 55,000.

Instead of merely offering existing unchanged liners, the Arison's have provided what passengers want and have consistently grown their Carnival Corporation and in the process have absorbed many of the traditional liner companies. By 2006 Carnival owned the largest fleet of passenger vessels the world has ever seen, carrying almost half of all the ocean cruise passengers.

Operating Traditional Liners[edit]

The business model for passenger liner operation placed surprisingly low importance upon the revenue generated from full-fare self-paying first and second class passengers. Most companies relied upon a combination of some, or all, of the following alternative revenue streams: -

  • Subsidies: These were either direct (as in USA), through payments to loss-making nationalised operations (as in Italy and France), or disguised through generous payments for mail shipments (as in UK).
  • Express Freight: In many liners the space devoted to freight was far in excess of that devoted to passengers.
  • Emigrants: Although this was always a one way traffic, the very spartan accommodation and minimal service provided, made emigrants a very lucrative income generator for many operators.
  • Empire Traffic: Government funded travel of officials, administrators and armed service personnel formed a significant part of the income of many passenger lines.

After WW2 the Empire traffic faded from view, then the Boeing 707 removed both passenger and emigrant numbers, finally container ships took over the carriage of express freight. Liner services were no longer of strategic national importance, so the subsidies were removed and very often given to airlines.

Since the end of the nineteenth century, passenger liner operators had been sending ships on cruises during slack trading periods. The shipping companies repeated this old policy, but it was clearly not viable. The standard of living in USA and Europe had markedly increased, but liner accommodation failed to match new standards and expectations. From the end of the 1960s many of the traditional operators decided to abandon the passenger market.

American Passenger Shipping[edit]

The American passenger shipping was in even worse condition than the UK/European companies. By the end of the 1960s / early 1970s almost all deep sea passenger shipping had ceased.

A modest cruise business operated from Miami to the Bahamas mainly using pre-war US coastal passenger ships. Public confidence in these vessels was shattered when the 1927 built Yarmouth Castle (ex-Evangeline) caught fire and sank in 1965 with the loss of 88 passengers and 2 crew members. This tragedy is one of the most scandalous incidents in maritime history. The ship was very badly maintained and equipped and the crew were largely incompetent. The first three of the six lifeboats that were launched contained the Captain, senior officers and crew members, but only four of the 376 passengers on the ship. The Captain claimed that he left his ship to seek help!

Vehicle Passenger ship Ship Ocean liner Boat

Photo 1: Yarmouth - Sister of Yarmouth Castle.

Arison's Cruise Revolution[edit]

Forehead Elder Official Businessperson White-collar worker

Photo 2: Ted Arison

Theodore (Ted) Arison was born in Palestine and educated in the American University in Beirut. He was a former soldier in the British Army and a veteran of the Israeli War of Independence who moved to the USA in 1954 when he was 28 years old. His family was involved with a leading Israeli shipping agency, which later became part of Zim Line. Ted Arison entered the air cargo business however and was the US agent for El Al for a number of years.

In 1966, the 40 year old Ted sold his aviation business and decided to take early retirement in Miami. Zim asked Arison to be their agent for a small passenger ship they had chartered for two years for operations out of Miami.

Arison soon realised that the US cruise companies were in terminal decline. In view of the growing number of vacationers to Florida however, Arison felt that the collective death wish of the US fleet presented him with an excellent opportunity.

Israel Car Ferries Ltd, part of the Somerfin Group had placed their new ferry "Nili" on charter to Pan American Cruise Line and she had just arrived in Miami, when Pan American cancelled their agreement, without notice. Arison immediately took over the charter and placed the ship in service as "Jamaica Queen" on 4 and 5 day cruises to Jamaica and the Bahamas. The ship had been delivered earlier that year by Fairfield's and was 7,851 tons with accommodation for 550 passengers and 120 cars. She had smart modern decor but was somewhat unusual in that none of her cabins had either a window or porthole.

Vehicle Ship Boat Watercraft Royal yacht

Photo 3: Nili nearing completion at Fairfields

The first voyage on 19 September 1966 went very well and Ted began negotiations to charter a second ship from Somerfin. In November 1966 however, the Israeli Government seized all of the assets of Somerfin because of a substantial default in another part of their business. Arison had forward passenger bookings, but no ship.

At exactly this time Kloster Rederi had been forced to withdraw their new ferry "Sunward" from a 7 day cruise/ferry service from Southampton to Portugal, Gibraltar and Morocco, because of two major problems. Firstly the Spanish Government had once again closed the border with Gibraltar, but more seriously the service was hit by the after effects of the disastrous seamen's strike, which had crippled the British foreign trade for six weeks. One of the emergency measures enacted by the British Government was a foreign exchange limitation of only £50 per person. As a result Kloster had a brand new ship, but no passengers.

Vehicle Water transportation Ship Boat Motor ship

Photo 4: Sunward

Arison and Knut Kloster entered into a contract whereby Arison Shipping Company provided marketing, sales and passenger service in exchange for 22% of the sales revenue. "Sunward" had been delivered in July 1996, was 8,666 tons and had accommodation for 558 passengers. She was an instant success and Arison had no problems meeting his sales undertakings. In fact he was turning passengers away. Once again, proper cabin facilities and smart modern decor generated strong sales.

It is interesting that long range ferries were being built with accommodation that was far superior to the great majority of the ocean liner fleet.

Kloster decided to provide additional cruise tonnage on the same basis. Unfortunately his Norwegian middle-managers bitterly resented Arison's involvement in the business and were constantly seeking to undermine the partnership. They seemed to feel that that dependence upon the services of a non-Norwegian Jew was a blow to their national pride. Towards the end of 1971, with four ships in service, all sailing with very high load factors, they at last realised that under the partnership agreement Arison held a constant pool of passengers' advance payments. It was clear that he was using this pool to finance his other business activities. They convinced Kloster to cancel the partnership agreement. A very messy divorce then ensued. Kloster expected that Arison would hand over passenger records, all forward bookings and about $6.5 million in deposits. Arison refused to co-operate or hand over the cash and a lengthy legal battle began.

As Kloster was unable to trace the deposits, and NCL was without information on existing bookings it was also facing in financial difficulties. Arison's offices were broken into and the passenger records stolen. It was a very bitter battle with on going repercussions to this day.

The birth of Carnival[edit]

Ted Arison was determined to continue in the cruise business. Once again he needed a ship, but this time there were no modern ferries available. He approached a wealthy old school friend, Meshulam Riklis, who agreed to support him. In January 1972, Arison took a small team including his vital lieutenant Meshulam Zonis to England with the intention of buying "Saxonia" and "Ivernia" laid-up by Cunard. They found, however that the ships were in a very bad condition and would take many months to restore to operational service. They also inspected "Empress of Canada", which was also in bad shape, but was at least operational. The decision was taken to proceed.

Vehicle Ship Boat Watercraft Ferry

Photo 5: Empress of Canada

Riklis owned American International Travel Services (AITS) of Boston. AITS formed a new subsidiary, Carnival Cruise Lines, with a capital of $6.5 million and Ted Arison as manager. It will be noticed that this was the same amount as the missing NCL deposits. The new company bought "Empress of Canada" from Canadian Pacific for $6.5 million, but a large part of the purchase was financed by bank loans, leaving a margin for working capital. The ship was renamed "Mardi Gras" and after carrying out basic maintenance work, she sailed from Tilbury for Miami on 25 February 1972.

Arison arranged an inaugural cruise for US travel agents. As the ship left Miami the pilot ran her onto a mud bank. Luckily she came off on the next tide. The US travel agents were amused by the incident but distinctly unimpressed with Mardi Gras. The Canadian Pacific two class layout, the large number of small cabins that were without private facilities and the poor general standard of outfit, all compared very unfavourably with Kloster's smaller modern ships. Arison vowed to change all of these faults, but he could not afford to take the ship out of service for a major refit. A team of workers lived on board and began a rolling programme of modernisation. This activity did not help passenger bookings however and the load factor was only about 60%. At this load level losses began to mount and the company faced severe cash flow difficulties.
Early in 1973, AITS bought the Riviera resort hotel in Las Vegas and the Nevada Gaming Commission asked AITS to dispose of its interests in Carnival. In 1974, Arison agreed to buy the near bankrupt Carnival Cruise Lines for $1 and to take over responsibility for $5 million debts. The investment was taken in the name of a newly formed Panamanian company - Carnival Corporation.

Ted Arison approached several cruise operators to form partnerships, but without success. He and the Zonis management team redoubled their efforts to rescue the business. Every cent of expenditure was examined for savings. The rebuilding of "Mardi Gras" with acceptable accommodation was almost complete and most importantly for the American market, a casino had been added. The marketing and sales team launched an aggressively advertised campaign to attract a younger clientele (25-40 year olds) to their "Fun Ship". Most importantly, Ted's young, college drop out son Micky Arison took to the road and visited dozens of important travel agents to convince them that the ship was greatly improved and to persuade them to offer Carnival's product to their clients.

Vehicle Ship Boat Watercraft Ocean liner

Photo 6: Mardi Gras

Their combined efforts were successful and the load factor began to climb so that by the end of 1975, "Mardi Gras" was operating at 100% capacity. Carnival was saved from bankruptcy, the next step was to turn the company into a money making proposition. It is however very difficult to operate a profitable single ship cruise company, but Carnival had one great advantage over its sleek European rivals. It only operated in the US cruise business. The other companies had largely been established by European shipowners who had made spectacular profits from the early 1970s tanker boom. When the boom turned into an OPEC instigated bust, cruise profits were used to support their main businesses and cruise investment ceased. The other companies had virtually ceased to expand their cruise activities. By contrast every cent that Carnival could squeeze out if its operations was used to grow its business.

During 1975 Carnival spotted an opportunity following the bankruptcy of Greek Line. Chase Manhattan Bank had foreclosed on that company and was very anxious to sell the two passenger ships it had acquired. A Carnival team quickly established that although Olympia,which had been refitted just prior the bankruptcy, was in the best condition and cleaner, Queen Anna Maria (ex Empress of Britain) had much more potential. All of her passenger cabins had been re-fitted with private facilities and full air conditioning installed.

Carnival bought the Queen for $3.2 million. A very good price, considering they paid $6.5 million for the completely unconverted Empress of Canada. The Queen was renamed Carnivale, readied for sea and sent to Newport News for cleaning, new soft furnishings and replacement of rat damaged furniture and fittings before entering service on 7 February 1976.

Passenger ship Ship Vehicle Ocean liner Boat

Photo 7: Carnivale

Once again a team of workers sailed with her until the end of the year bringing the ship up to standard. Carnivale experienced extensive plumbing problems during her first cruise, but these were resolved and she received a positive reaction from the travel trade.By the end of 1976 the work was done and Carnivale's load factors were up to 95%. The company was now in a stable, slowly growing financial situation and Carnival began looking for a third ship.

In the autumn of 1977, the SAFMARINE/ Union Castle liner S A Vaal came on the market. She was a most unlikely candidate for cruise duties. Although she was 32,697 tons, she was designed to carry vast amounts of cargo and only 728 passengers, many in extremely small cabins. What impressed Zonis however was the space available. In addition both the Union Castle crew and office staff knew of the great work done by Carnival on their two CP ships, and they wanted S A Vaal to go to a good home. Zonis telephoned Ted Arison and urged him to act quickly to buy the ship. Without seeing her, he bought S A Vaal for a bargain $3 million.

Vehicle Ship Boat Naval architecture Motor ship

Photo 8: S A Vaal

S A Vaal was renamed Festivale and sent to Kawasaki for a complete rebuild. In many ways these old ships needed the same treatment as a city centre classical building, where the facade is retained but everything behind the outer wall is demolished and a completely new building created at considerable expense. Carnival applied the same philosophy to the rebuilding of Festivale at a cost of $20 million. By contrast Shaw Savill wasted £4 million on an inadequate and unsuccessful attempt to convert of the third CP liner Empress of England into a cut-price cruise ship.

Festivale re-entered service on 31 August 1978. She was now able to accommodate 1,432 passengers and had a wide range of new public rooms. She was the largest and fastest cruise ship operating in the Caribbean and was an instant success.

Vehicle Water transportation Ship Boat Motor ship

Photo 9: Festivale

Despite the company's stronger financial position, Carnival still continued to cut every cost to the bone. In June 1978, when the FBI busted the Miami organised crime rackets of the International Longshoremen's Association, Carnival was the only cruise company not paying protection money, providing the mobsters with free tickets and employing the union's high priced dockside services front companies. As the Carnival management explained, they could not afford to pay the mob.

In 1979, with all three of Carnival's ships making excellent profits and the dispute with NCL settled out of court, Ted Arison appointed his son Micky as President and he became Chairman. The Arisons also decided that it was time to build their first new ship.

Carnival's first newbuildings[edit]

A number of international banks specialise in financing shipping companies. A standard procedure is to finance up to 80% of the purchase price of a ship against the security of a mortgage on the ship. This works well with an existing ship, especially if it is an easily saleable vessel, like a tanker or bulk carrier. Banks were unwilling to finance the construction of a ship, however, because a mortgage can only be attached when the ship is registered.

In the aftermath of the 1970s world-wide recession many shipyards were desperate for work and a number of governments came to their rescue by providing guarantees to banks to provide construction finance until the ship was registered. Carnival was the first US based company to use one of these schemes to build a cruise ship. The specific arrangements were established with the Danish authorities and involved the $100 million ship being delivered to a Danish company, which entered into a special five year charter, after which time she was transferred to Carnival.

No details of these financing arrangements were given when Ted Arison announced the new order. The news caused a sensation in the industry, as Carnival itself was not worth $100 million

The naval architects for the new ship were the British firm Technical Marine Planning, who had carried out survey and conversion design work for Carnival on their three second hand purchases. They were subsequently taken over by Carnival and renamed Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding. The company's headquarters is still in London, near Tower Bridge. They are employed on all of the group's shipbuilding programmes. The interior designer was Joe Farcus who has worked on all subsequent Carnival Cruise ships. The Carnival operational staff also played a much greater part in the design development than was usual in traditional shipping companies.

The new ship was named Tropicale. She was much larger than the ferry-based ships operated by Carnival's rivals. The company's clientele were US middle-income wage earners and their families. The designers knew that these heartland people would not relish anything pretentious, bourgeois or trendy. Neither were they to be subjected to floating Las Vegas glitz. Nor were they to be short changed - the standard cabins were bigger than those provided in the up-market Royal Viking Line ships. The aim was to project and fulfil the company's Fun Ship concept, so that the passengers thoroughly enjoyed their vacation and were eager to come back for more. The ship fully met these objectives.

Vehicle Ship Passenger ship Cruise ship Ocean liner

Photo 10: Tropicale

Tropicale was a ship of some 36,000 grt; 260 metres length overall; carried 1,396 passengers and 411 crew; was powered by two Sulzer 7RND68M diesels and had a service speed of 21 knots. As the first new-built cruise ship for over 10 years, her arrival in Miami in 1982 caused a sensation, not least because Ted Arison announced that he intended to build another three new ships!

The new ships were enlarged and improved versions of Tropicale. The first, named Holiday, was also built by Aalborg Waerft in Denmark. With the addition of 17 metres in length, 1.7 metres in beam and 0.5 metres draught it was possible to add an additional accommodation deck, increasing passenger capacity by 398 berths. The other two ships, Jubilee and Celebration, were built by Kockums in Sweden. They were very slightly longer but by changing the internal layout they were able to accommodate 500 more passengers than Tropicale. Holiday is 46,052 grt and the two Swedish built are 47,262 grt each. All three ships were financed by ship mortgage loans.

Cruise ship Water transportation Passenger ship Ship Vehicle

Photo 11: Holiday

Cruise ship Vehicle Ship Water transportation Passenger ship

Photo 12: Celebration at Nassau

These new ships doubled Carnival's capacity. To fill them, Ted Arison commissioned a $10 million nationwide TV campaign, featuring brilliant song-and-dance commercials promoting life on a Fun Ship cruise. At the same time Carnival sales reps began anonymously visiting travel agencies around the country, walking in the door and asking the agent for a recommendation for a vacation. At the end of the visit the rep disclosed her identity. If the agent had included a cruise in the vacation suggestions the rep handed over $100, if the agent suggested a Carnival cruise the reward was $1,000. The new ships achieved a big commercial success without in any way reducing the earnings of Carnival's existing fleet.

Public floatation of Carnival's shares[edit]

The commercial success of the greatly expanded Carnival fleet had a major, positive impact upon the company's cash flow and this situation was used to improve Carnival's credit rating. Suppliers were consistently paid on time. Although the pressure to contain costs remained as intense as always, every effort was made to move to first class standards of corporate governance.

After much debate the Arisons decided in 1987 that in order to finance their ambitions for Carnival, they needed to take the company public. They approached Wall Street Merchant Banks, who had difficulty understanding the dynamics of the cruise industry, but had no problem in appreciating the value of a business that was making 30% profit on turnover and because all trading was conducted offshore had no liability to US taxes. The financiers groomed Carnival for the floatation. The Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 20% of Carnival's shares was a huge success and raised $400 million. This valued the entire business at $2 billion. Not bad going for a company that 13 years earlier had been bought by Ted Arison for $1.

In addition to the $400 million raised by the IPO, Carnival now had access to the corporate loan market that is available to quoted companies. Carnival had a greatly enhanced war-chest. One of the Arison's first moves was to order three giant cruise ships from Finland.

Increased hostility with rivals[edit]

In the meanwhile Norwegian Cruise Line had also been working towards an IPO. The company needed finance to stay in the race against Carnival and Royal Caribbean. NCL had set its target at a much more modest $100, but unfortunately the week before the launch of its IPO, the stock market collapsed and the offer had to be cancelled. NCL never recovered from that setback.

At the same time as Carnival was surging ahead, Royal Caribbean was also facing a critical situation. RCCL had been founded by three Norwegian shipowners - Skaugen, Wilhelmsen and the London based Gotass-Larsen. The company's constitution required unanimous agreement from all three shareholders. This became increasingly difficult to achieve especially as the young Arne Wilhelmsen and the Skaugens strongly disliked each other. After Gotass-Larsen was sold to the US group, International Utilities, its new owners tried to stop the constant bickering and start to move RCCL forward again, but every major decision required endless negotiation and compromise.

RCCL began operations with three 18,500 grt, 880 passenger cruise ships, called Song of Norway, Nordic Prince and Sun Viking, which were delivered 1970/72. At the time of their delivery these ships were industry leaders, but that was the entire fleet. Each year the entire profits were distributed to the three shareholders and no funds were retained for expansion. Eventually it was agreed in 1978 to extend Song of Norway by 26 metres to increase her tonnage to 23,005 grt and her passenger capacity to 1,196. After prolonged haggling Nordic Prince was similarly extended in 1980, but agreement was never reached to enlarge Sun Viking. With NCL taking delivery of Norway and Carnival's announcement of their order for Tropicale, RCCL at last placed an order for their Song of America. She was delivered in 1982 and was 37,584 grt with capacity for 1,414 passengers, but was immediately eclipsed by Carnival's three new 47,000 tonners.

The RCCL shareholders eventually agreed to proceed with a long considered plan to build the much larger Sovereign of the Seas. At 73,192 grt and a passenger capacity of 2,282 she was the largest passenger vessel in service in the world when she was delivered in 1987. Ted Arison was an invited guest at the arrival of Sovereign in Miami. At the party, Jack Seabrook, the Chairman and CEO of International Utilities began to chat and secretly arranged a further meeting. It transpired that Seabrook was fed up with the behaviour of the other shareholders and wanted to get out. The Arisons were not excited by the proposal as they felt that they would merely be buying market share, nor were they interested in simply taking over the Gotaas-Larsen shares as they would inherit the same minority problem.

After considerable manoeuvring, the Skaugens also agreed to sell their holding to Carnival, provided that the Wilhelmsens were given a 40 day right of first refusal to buy the shares at the same price. The sum involved was $550 million and everyone thought it was way beyond the ability of the Wilhelmsens to raise that amount. They were wrong however, Arne Wilhelmsen and Richard Fain, the Gotaas Larsen Managing Director persuaded Jay Pritzker, the head of the immensely wealthy family that owned the Hyatt hotel empire, (amongst other investments) to provide the finance needed to supplement the amount that Wilhelmsen could borrow from US Finance Houses.

Jack Seabrook was annoyed and Micky Arison was outraged when Richard Fain first slowed the flow of bid information to Carnival in favour of Pritzker, then left Gotaas-Larsen to join the Wilhelmsen buy-out team as prospective Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean. Fain then successfully masterminded the completion of the highly complex buy-out legalities involved (covering about 250 individual companies in the Royal Caribbean group) against a very tight deadline.

A long term effect was that the transaction created a lasting enmity between Micky Arison and Richard Fain. It also created a lasting hostility between all levels of management in Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Another consequence was that Royal Caribbean began the second phase of its life loaded with debt. The final remarkable outcome was the size of the funds involved in the very public fight between Carnival and the Wilhelmsen faction, convinced Nico Van Der Vorm, the representative of the owners of Holland America Line, to resume discussions on a sale of their business to Carnival.

Holland America[edit]

N V Nederlandsch - Amerikaanische Stoomboot - Maatschappij was founded in 1873. From 1897 the company also used the alternative title Holland Amerika Lijn, although it did not formally change its name until its centenary in 1973. The company established itself as well respected middle-ranking transatlantic liner operator, with a significant position in the emigrant trade. In 1898, for example, NASM carried 90,000 cabin class and 400,000 steerage passengers, plus 5 million tons of freight. From 1901 a separate all-cargo service was introduced.

In 1902 the American railroad tycoon, John Pierpont Morgan established the International Mercantile Marine Company in an effort to create an Atlantic travel monopoly. As part of this activity IMMC obtained control of NASM, but the entire IMMC enterprise was unsuccessful and the Dutch regained control of the company in 1916. It continued as a successful, diversified, independent shipping company until the 1970s when it started to incur heavy operational losses. Many operations were sold off and the business was eventually reduced to being solely an operator of cruise ships in the American market. In line with this change, its operational headquarters was moved to Seattle to concentrate on the Alaska market.

In 1987 the Arisons were developing plans to create a separate brand in the high-end, luxury sector of the cruise market. The Carnival naval architects were working on designs for three appropriate ships. The Arisons felt however, that the purchase of an established business would be a sounder way to achieve their objectives. Holland America Line was their first choice.

Micky Arison began talks with Kirk Lanterman, the HAL president, who was very enthusiastic, but the line's owner Nico Van Der Vorm was not interested. He had just bought Home Lines and was buying Windstar. He was growing the business, not selling it. The following year however, at the time when the Carnival take-over of Royal Caribbean began to look unlikely to succeed, Lanterman approached Micky Arison and suggested a return to discussions with HAL.

Lanterman was very keen to escape from the situation where he worked directly for Der Vorm and he helped to structure an acceptable Carnival proposal. Three weeks after Wilhelmsen had secured Royal Caribbean, Carnival formally announced that it had acquired Holland America for $625 million. The basis of the deal was that Holland America would retain its name and separate identity and continue to operate out of Seattle with Lanterman as president and that Nico Van Der Vorm would join the board of Carnival Corporation.

The cruise industry was stunned. It was generally felt that only three weeks after losing the battle to acquire Royal Caribbean, Carnival had landed a much more valuable prize. The conditions of the deal were to set the pattern for the operation of what was starting to be called Carnivore Cruise Line. A federal management structure was adopted and each brand strengthened and enhanced.

The Holland America acquisition provided: -

  • Rotterdam (1959) 38,645 grt; 1,499 passengers
  • Niew Amsterdam (1983) 33,930 grt; 1,374 passengers
  • Noordam (1984) 33,930 grt; 1,374 passengers
  • Westerdam (1986) 42,092 grt; 1,132 passengers (ex Homeric - contracted to return to her builders, Meyer Werft in 1989 to be extended and becoming 53,872 grt with 1,495 passengers)

Vehicle Water transportation Ship Boat Passenger ship

Photo 13: Rotterdam in New Zealand whilst on a world cruise

Vehicle Ship Water transportation Boat Ferry

Photo 14: Niew Amsterdam in Los Angeles in 1986

  • Wind Star (1986) 5,307 grt; 150 passengers
  • Wind Song (1987) 5,307 grt; 150 passengers
  • Wind Spirit (1988) 5,307 grt; 150 passengers

Vehicle Tall ship Boat Schooner Barquentine

Photo 15: Windstar in the Caribbean

Westours - Alaskan tour organiser with a fleet of motor coaches and railroad cars

Westmark Hotels & Inns - major hotel owner in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon

The retirement of Ted Arison[edit]

In October 1990, after the successful conclusion of the Holland America acquisition, Ted Arison decided it was time to fully retire from Carnival. After 10 years as president, Micky Arison took over as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Ted moved to Israel and in his typical fashion became involved in a host of business activities, politely declining an offer to become the country's finance minister. He died in 1999, aged 75. He left his Israeli companies to his daughter, making her Israel's richest citizen.

The cruise fleets in 1990[edit]

In 1990 the major cruise groups were: -

  • Carnival - 12 cruise ships - 19,226 passenger capacity
  • P&O - 11 cruise ships - 13,657 passenger capacity
  • Royal Caribbean - 9 cruise ships - 13,418 passenger capacity
  • Kloster - 11 cruise ships - 12,399 passenger capacity


For a continuation of this history see the links at the foot of this article


  • North Atlantic Seaway: N R P Bonsor: David & Charles; 1975
  • From the "Golden Fleet" to the "Fun Ships": A history of Carnival Cruise Lines: Laurence Miller: Fairplay Cruise Review; 1987
  • US Passenger liners since 1945: Milton H Watson: Patrick Stephens; 1988
  • Great passenger ships of the world today: Arnold Kludas: Patrick Stephens; 1992
  • Merchant Fleets No 28 - Holland America Line: Duncan Hawes; 1995
  • The development and growth of the cruise industry: Roger Cartwright & Carolyn Baird: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1999
  • Cruise Ships: An evolution in design: Philip Dawson: Conway Maritime Press; 2000
  • The cruise ship phenomenon in North America: Brian J Cudahy: Cornell Maritime Press; 2001
  • Devils on the deep blue sea: Kristoffer A Garin: Viking; 2005


Many of the photographs used to illustrate this article are from the very large collection contained in the Ships Nostalgia Galleries, which are available for use in the Directory. The individual photographs have been produced as follows: -

  1. Ships Nostalgia - Bruce Carson
  2. Carnival Corporation
  3. Ships Nostalgia Member - Fairfield
  4. Ships Nostalgia - John Rogers
  5. Ships Nostalgia - eyrebrush
  6. Ships Nostalgia - Ian
  7. Ships Nostalgia - duncan montgomery
  8. Ships Nostalgia - WDM
  9. Ships Nostalgia - linerrich
  10. Ships Nostalgia - Jos Telleman
  11. Ships Nostalgia - BeyondCruises
  12. Ships Nostalgia - dicamus
  13. Ships Nostalgia - Dave Edge
  14. Ships Nostalgia - Shawn Broes
  15. Cruise Lines International Association

Article written and compiled by Fred Henderson

Carnival Corporation History[edit]
Carnival Corporation History -Part 1Carnival Corporation History - Part 2Carnival Corporation History - Part 3
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