Cruise Exec Spotlight: Arnold Donald

Big Job, Huge Personality

Carnival Corp. President and CEO Arnold Donald didn’t let a tough beginning stop him from following his business dreams.

By Fran Golden

A former Monsanto executive and Carnival Corp. board member, Arnold Donald was tapped to run the world’s largest cruise company last July. He is responsible for 100 cruise ships and 120,000 employees. But just who is this guy?

Call Arnold Donald a Renaissance man. When he’s not running Carnival Corp. and serving on numerous boards of directors, the cruise industry mogul writes (everything from nonfiction to children’s stories to poems), he loves music — and he dances. Indeed, the tall, 59-year-old commands attention on the dance floor.

“I do enjoy dancing, even though I’m not very good at it,” Donald says with a hearty laugh. “I do make up stuff, but I have my own little moves. I like line dancing and just moving-my-body-to-the-music kind of thing.”

The other quality people notice about Donald is his gregariousness. He works social events like a campaigning politician, giving everyone he meets a warm smile.

“I’m from New Orleans,” he says. “It’s a cultural thing. We’re very people-oriented.”

With his warm, fun-loving nature and, yes, his moves, it’s easy to imagine the executive tripping the light fantastic on a cruise ship — say, on Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, or any of the 10 Carnival Corp. brands he oversees.

But Donald actually was a cruise fan long before he was associated with Carnival Corp. He even once took a family cruise with 50 people.

“I truly believe there is no better vacation value than cruising,” he says.

Can you spot Arnold Donald getting down at Porthole Cruise Magazine’s
relaunch party in Miami this past March?


Early Beginnings

Donald’s dad was a talented carpenter who built their home — even the furniture — and was active in the Catholic Church in New Orleans. He and Donald’s mom raised their own five kids as well as 27 foster kids.

“I grew up in a typical American kind of story,” says Donald. “I grew up very poor. My parents were very hardworking and had limited opportunities, given the times and the segregated city.”

An older sister who wanted to be a teacher taught him to read …


Pat and Rosemarie Keough/Seabourn

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