Cruise Association Head To Take Carnival’s Helm

In a change reflecting a larger push toward diversity in the cruise industry, Cruise Lines International Association CEO Christine Duffy is leaving the association space to become the president of Carnival Cruise Line. Duffy will be the company's first female president.

The lead face of the cruise industry’s trade group made a big splash this week.

After four years heading the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Christine Duffy, the group’s president and CEO, is taking on the role of president of Carnival Cruise Line, one of the trade group’s largest corporate members.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to be part of a dynamic organization with a long history of innovation and industry firsts,” Duffy said in a news release. “The name Carnival is truly synonymous with cruising, and I look forward to joining this talented team.”

It’s great to see more diversity at the senior levels, and to have more women running cruise lines is a good thing for the industry.

The CLIA leader will take the helm at Carnival Cruise Line on February 1, replacing longtime president and CEO Gerry Cahill, who retired in November. Duffy will report to new Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald.

Duffy, a longtime travel-management pro with executive experience in the corporate meetings sector, led CLIA during a period of change and controversy. CLIA made waves two years ago this week by taking part in a merger of nine different cruise associations worldwide. The consolidated group carried the CLIA name. And with the changes in structure came a shift in tactics: Earlier this month, Duffy announced a move to bring together CLIA’s operations into a single location in Washington, DC.

While Duffy led a successful period for the association, the waters were choppy from time to time—particularly after the deadly 2012 Costa Concordia disaster and a well-publicized incident involving Carnival’s Triumph cruise ship last year. The group later announced a Passenger Bill of Rights to show passengers the cruise industry was serious about fixing its problems.

Duffy will be Carnival’s first female president and becomes the fourth woman to lead a cruise line.

“It feels pretty incredible,” Duffy told the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s great to see more diversity at the senior levels, and to have more women running cruise lines is a good thing for the industry.”

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!