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8 things you might not know about Carnival Cruise Line’s President


Since joining the company in 2015, Carnival Cruise Line's President Christine Duffy has led a fleet of 30 ships that welcome more than six million guests annually, as well as overseen the introduction of seven ships, including the brand-new Carnival Jubilee

Although Carnival primarily attracts Americans, the company, led by Duffy, promises to deliver safe, fun, and memorable cruises to its growing customer base. Whether you're looking to sail on a short 3-night getaway to The Bahamas or embark on a culturally rich journey around Europe, there's a wide array of itineraries to choose from, ensuring that you get to experience Carnival's brand no matter where you want to go. 

As President of the cruise line with the most "fun ships" at sea, it's no surprise that you might be interested in her background and accomplishments before joining Carnival. Did you know, for instance, that she visited every single ship in Carnival's fleet within the first year of being president? She also didn't go on her first cruise until her honeymoon. 

Here are 8 things you might not know about the President of Carnival Corporation's flagship brand, Carnival Cruise Line

Note that the headshot used in the hero was taken from Duffy's LinkedIn

Read more: 15 things I wish I knew before setting foot on a Carnival ship

Duffy wanted to be a flight attendant, but she was too short and didn't meet the minimum height requirement


After graduating from Frankford High School in Philadelphia, Duffy applied to be a flight attendant for the now-defunct Pan American World Airways. She, however, didn't meet the 5'4" minimum height requirement. 

Pan American World Airways, more commonly referred to as Pan Am, was the largest international air carrier for the majority of the 20th century. It was the first airline to fly worldwide and is credited for numerous innovations that have become standard in the airline industry, including jumbo jets and the computerized reservation system. 

Read more: The costly cruising mistake newbies make planning their first cruise

The rejection from Pan Am didn't dissuade Duffy from the travel industry. She accepted a position as a travel receptionist for Rosenbluth Travel before moving to McGettigan Travel, where she remained for 20 years


At McGettigan Travel, Duffy started as a travel agent before eventually becoming the president. 

When McGettigan was acquired by Maritz Travel Company, she remained with the company for another 10 years, six of which she spent as the president and CEO, allowing her to work with a variety of Fortune 500 corporations in the automotive, pharmaceutical, financial services, and technology sectors. 

Duffy left Maritz Travel Company to work for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Though she retained the title of president, she supposedly received a significant pay cut


CLIA is the world's largest cruise association that's dedicated to the promotion and growth of the cruise industry. During her time with CLIA, she worked closely with senior leaders at Carnival, as well as forged relationships with other individuals within the industry. 

Moreover, she led many advancements, such as the globalization of cruise associations, creating a unified voice that promoted cruising to key stakeholders through CLIA's 13,000+ travel agency members. 

Duffy also spearheaded the adoption of the Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights, which enhanced the industry's commitment to safety, care, and comfort. 

Read more: 28 first time cruise tips that really work (2024)

She left CLIA in 2014 to become the first female president of Carnival Cruise Line


Since becoming Carnival Cruise Line's president, the company has achieved many accomplishments. 

Under her leadership, it became the first major U.S. cruise line to regain full operational capacity after the industry-wide hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, she oversaw the company when it became the first cruise line to welcome 100 million guests onboard in 2023. 

She has also made good on her promises, dating back to when she first started the job. She promised to visit all of Carnival's ships, even those deployed in places like Australia. She fulfilled her promise on Valentine's Day when she visited Carnival Liberty, a Conquest Class ship that launched in 2005, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Read more: Carnival Cruise Line Guide & Review

Growing up, she frequently traveled to France to visit family, which ignited her love for travel


Though being born and raised in Philadelphia, Duffy would often travel to France, where her mother was from, to visit her cousins. 

“From an early age, I had the privilege and opportunity to travel and knew travel was something that I wanted to do as a career,” she said to Women Leading Travel & Hospitality. 

She loved being exposed to diverse cultures and experiences, which led her to have a fascination with people and their unique perspectives. 

She's the godmother of the AmaCerto, an AmaWaterways ship


AmaCerto is a luxury river ship operated by AmaWaterways. The 162-passenger vessel made its debut in May 2012, and Duffy was selected to be its godmother. The christening ceremony took place in Vilshofen, Germany on May 16, 2012.

“We knew the AmaCerto needed a godmother befitting to the modern elegance of the beautiful ship,” said Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways’ Executive Vice President and Co-Owner. 

“Christine Duffy’s long history in the industry and her love for cruising makes her the perfect fit. We are so pleased to know our beloved AmaCerto is under great guidance.”

She's involved in various other organizations


Duffy serves on the United States Travel & Tourism Advisory Board, as well as the Board of Directors of Aimbridge Hospitality and Herschend Entertainment, the nation’s largest family-owned operator of themed attractions like Dollywood. She also sits on the Professional Advisory Board of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 

She's a strong supporter of women's leadership in the travel industry, too. She founded the Women's Leadership Initiative of Meeting Professionals International, which addresses the limited number of women in executive and leadership roles. 

As a member of The Committee of 200, she helps advance women's leadership by bringing together some of the world's most successful female business leaders. 

Read more: Carnival Cruise ship classes guide & explanation (2024)

She was recognized by the International Hospitality Institute as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Global Hospitality and Travel for 2023


The International Hospitality Institute is a global advocacy, training, and standards organization within the hospitality industry. 

It's the only organization that represents all stakeholders in the global hospitality industry including, but not limited to, hotels, resorts, casinos, senior living centers, spas, cruise ships, theme parks, hospitality students, airlines, event planners, entertainment companies, and industry vendors. 

Duffy was one of the honorees included in the International Hospitality Institute's list of 100 Most Influential People in Global Hospitality and Travel for 2023. All included had a "significant and positive impact on the hospitality and travel industries globally in 2023." 

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