Carnival AirShip

Cruise Control: Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line

Queen of the Fun Ships

A Day in the Life of Christine Duffy

By Cele and Lynn Seldon

What’s a typical day like when you’re Christine Duffy and you sit at the helm of the world’s largest cruise line? “One of the things I like best about my job is that there is no typical day,” says Duffy, who began serving as president of Carnival Cruise Line in February 2015 after spending four years as president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the trade association representing the $35 billion global cruise industry.

Duffy’s day is certainly packed with Fun Ship duties near and far. She oversees nearly 40,000 employees and a fleet of 24 cruise ships that carry 4.5 million passengers annually from homeports throughout North America, Europe, and Australia.

On Shore and On Board

When she’s in South Florida (Carnival’s headquarters is in Miami), Duffy’s days start early. “I try to work out in the morning and beat rush hour,” she says. “I like to have some time before I start my day to get through emails.”

Then the meetings begin. “I am usually in back-to-back meetings throughout the day,” she says. “My management style is very collaborative.” Duffy clearly believes day-to-day cooperation and consensus is the way to get things done. “Things work best when you bring the right team together and have people with different skills and talents working collaboratively.”

Duffy also likes to host frequent town hall meetings with various employees in Miami, as well as on and off ships. “There is a tremendous amount of communication and collaboration across teams at Carnival,” she says. “Every week there is a meeting with Arnold Donald [president and CEO of Carnival Corporation] and the multi-brand leadership team to look more broadly across the organization and share information.” Carnival Corporation’s 10 cruise brands currently account for nearly 50 percent of the world’s cruise passengers.

When not in the office, many of Duffy’s days are spent aboard Fun Ships. “My first year at Carnival, I made a commitment to visit every ship in the fleet,” she proudly claims. “I completed the mission on Valentine’s Day in San Juan, visiting Carnival Liberty. It was a lot of traveling, including a trip to Australia to see two of our ships, as well as visiting the new Carnival Vista under construction in Italy. But I felt it was important to get out onto every ship and meet the officers and crew.”

For 2016, Duffy says she’ll visit at least six…

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Photo: Carnival Cruise Line

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