How Carnival Cruise Line is creating authentic guest experiences

Christine Duffy discusses the brand’s investments in designs, amenities and its employees

How Carnival Cruise Line is creating authentic guest experiences

Carnival Cruise Line

Christine Duffy is president of Carnival Cruise Line

By Michele Witthaus |

Carnival Venezia, the latest newbuild from Carnival Cruise Line, was christened in June 2023 in New York City after being constructed at the Navantia yard in Cádiz, Spain. The ship has Venice-inspired features throughout and even boasts a version of the Italian city’s iconic public square, the Piazza San Marco.

For the company’s president Christine Duffy, the new vessel brings something special to the brand. “I love all the Venice-inspired touches across the ship, from the authentic gondola in the dining room to the opera house design of the theatre,” she says. “Carnival Venezia is a beautiful ship and there’s so much to love about it and the great new Carnival Fun Italian Style experience it is bringing to life for our guests sailing out of New York City.”

Any vacation concept based on Italian culture must incorporate high-quality cuisine, and Carnival has gone to great effort to ensure authenticity in the dining venues onboard Carnival Venezia. “Our new Italian restaurant, Il Viaggio, is a must for anyone who loves Italian food,” says Duffy. “The restaurant is led by our chef from Rome, and he has curated a menu full of delicious dishes that represent cuisine from different regions across Italy.”

This commitment to delivering authentic, high-quality food extends across the entire fleet, with Carnival investing to create new menus and make dining room enhancements to further indulge the senses of its cruise guests. “We recently expanded our partnership with chef Emeril Lagasse,” explains Duffy. “As our new chief culinary officer, Lagasse worked with our chefs to curate new creations that infuse some more international flavours, offer more variety and complement our Carnival classics guests love. I was with him onboard Carnival Venezia when he was working through taste-testing five dozen dishes, and as we roll out many of these new options across the fleet, I’m pleased that our guests are enjoying the new selections as well.”

To deliver on its brand promise across multiple levels of the cruise offering, Carnival is also investing in continuous development for employees, starting with those at entry level. In 2023, it brought back its successful internship programme.

“Our Internship at Sea programme is unique, and we are delighted by its success this summer,” says Duffy. “We welcomed 24 students from 24 different universities onboard. It’s important for us to create these special opportunities to inspire the next generation and invest in the fun and memorable cruise vacations of the future. Several past interns have gone on to start careers in the cruise industry, and so I hope to see some of this year’s class back here at Carnival someday soon.”

The brand continues to invest in infrastructure to support its itineraries and its new port project in The Bahamas is well underway. “We broke ground on our new cruise port destination on Grand Bahama Island in May 2022,” says Duffy. “The cruise port includes a pier able to accommodate up to two Excel-class ships simultaneously, welcoming guests to a stunning white-sand beach The Bahamas are known for.”

An important focus of this project will be ensuring convenient movement between the cruise port and Grand Bahama, which is just a few minutes away. The aim is to generate commercial activity that is of value to the entire island, beyond the local benefits of cruise calls.

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.

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