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Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy on Mardi Gras, Dealing with Rule Breakers

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When she was first hired as Carnival Cruise Line President back in 2014, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald called Christine Duffy “one of the most respected and dynamic leaders in the travel industry”.

Nothing has proven that quotation more correct than the past nine months of 2020. Duffy was tasked with guiding the cruise line through a global pandemic and her efforts have helped position the world’s most recognizable cruise brand for a full recovery in 2021 and beyond.

Duffy joined Porthole Cruise Founder and Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff for a discussion of the latest cruise industry news, including the launch of the new Mardi Gras cruise ship and how her cruise line would approach fulfilling all the requirements laid out by the CDC in their conditional sail order. Check out the whole interview at the bottom of the page! 

Interview with Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy 

The interview started with a question about the upcoming Mardi Gras, a ship we’ve been waiting very patiently to get on board! Delayed due to the pandemic, we’ve been living off of teasers and updates from the cruise line on when the first sailing will be. As of now, that date is scheduled for April 24 from Port Canaveral. Duffy explained what makes the ship so unique compared to others. 

“We are very excited, as you know. We’ve been anxiously awaiting Mardi Gras and this is a very unique ship for Carnival Cruise Line and actually for the cruise industry in North America. As you know [it will be] the first LNG ship that will be arriving in Port Canaveral with a brand new terminal to welcome her,” Duffy said. 

LNG stands for liquified natural gas, an alternative fuel found in brand new cruise ships which offers bette fuel-economy and is much cleaner burning than the diesel engines of the past. It’s a trend we’re going to see a lot of as cruise lines are doing everything possible to reduce their carbon footprint. 

When asked about features on board, Duffy revealed that the ship had many technological advances that will come in handy in the future. 

“The ship has a lot of new technology and lots of touch-less things which were actually all planned for prior to the environment we’re operating in, or plan to operate in,” she said. 

Carnival Cruise Line’s COVID-19 Protocols 

When asked what Carnival’s approach will be to those who don’t want to follow the COVID-19 protocols, Duffy suggested they avoid cruising for the time being, as the rules are the rules. 

“For people who really just don’t want to comply, we’re suggesting that they not take a cruise during this time where those requirements will be in place. No one wants to have a situation where we have to debark guests for not following protocols. We’re encouraging people that if they’re not willing to follow the rules that maybe they should wait to take a cruise vacation in the future at another time,” she said.

For people who really just don’t want to comply, we’re suggesting that they not take a cruise during this time

We’ve already seen cruise guests denied re-boarding after breaking protocols during a shore excursion so it’s clear these are rules Carnival and other cruise lines are going to enforce using every means necessary.

When asked about the test cruises required by the CDC, Duffy said the process is going to be a gradual one and they don’t have all the answers just yet due to the global situation that’s constantly changing. 

“There will be test cruises, that is one of the requirements that the CDC has for every ship that we plan to sail in the US in 2021 but we don’t have a lot of specific details yet about what the requirements are around the test cruises, whether they will be cruises to no where or what the length of those cruises will be,” Duffy said.

To end the interview, Duffy was asked what she would say to someone who may be hesitant to book a cruise in the future.

“If you read through what the CDC requirements are, it is about putting health and safety first and foremost which is what the cruise industry has always done. Our protocols go way beyond anything that any business I’m aware of is doing on the planet,” she explained. 

She acknowledged that it may not be the right time for everyone to cruise and we think that’s okay. Waiting a little longer to cruise when you feel like you’re ready will go a long way in helping you enjoy your hard-earned vacation to the fullest! 

Full interview with Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line  

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