Creating the ‘Fun Ships’

Ted Arison with wife, Lin, on his left, and daughter Sherry on his right, at the christening of the Carnivale in Miami in 1976Carnival Corporation can trace its origins to 1972 when Ted Arison founded Carnival Cruise Lines with a retired trans-Atlantic liner, the Mardi Gras. Arison had entered the industry a few years before as the general sales agent for Klosters Rederi, operating as Norwegian Caribbean Lines, before he launched his own cruise line.

What made Carnival different was its target market, focusing on a young and fun-loving demographic. Soon the brand was known as the Fun Ships.

Step-by-step Arison grew the line, first by acquiring more older tonnage and by the early 1980s, newbuilds.

Upon taking the company public in 1987, Carnival had become the largest cruise brand in the world, and as the company continued to grow, a corporate holding company, Carnival Corporation, was created in 1993.

Meanwhile, Carnival had started to acquire other cruise lines, so that today it has nine brands and a fleet of 101 ships, commanding more than 50 percent of the global cruise capacity.

Arison was born in Tel Aviv in 1924, moved to the U.S. in 1952, and eventually retired to Israel in 1990, turning the cruise company reins over to his son Micky.

Among his other ventures, he brought professional basketball to Miami in 1988 as the majority owner of the Miami Heat.

Arison and his wife, Lin, were also strong supporters of the arts and contributors to philanthropic and humanitarian charities both in Israel and the U.S. They created the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Miami’s New World Symphony.

Arison was 75 when he died of a heart attack. He was survived by his wife, two sons, Micky and Michael, and a daughter Shari.

This article ran as part of a special Legends and Leaders section of the 100th edition of Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine, Spring 2015. A PDF download is available here.

Related articles:

Knut Kloster: A Man of Vision

Ted Arison: Creating the Fun Ships

Micky Arison: Exceeding Expectations

Nicola Costa: Developing Europe

Ed Stephen: Great Future

Arne Wilhelmsen: Next: Sensible Growth

John Chandris: Innovation is Key

Phoenix: True North

Art Rodney: Launching New Brands

Helge Naarstad: The Ultimate Experience 

Stanley McDonald: Full Ships from Day One

Barney Ebsworth: It’s All About Marketing

Lord Sterling: Worldwide Outlook

Stein Kruse: Global Expansion

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