Embark on a cruise and you’re guaranteed to be impressed by the cutting edge on-board innovations, VIP service, gourmet cuisine, unique shore excursions and seemingly flawless operational efficiency. While the entire experience may appear to run like clockwork on the surface, every inch of the itinerary is overseen by a team of logistical gurus who work tirelessly to create incredible voyages. Chief Executive Officers oversee these teams and are involved in the highest level decision making processes that determine how passengers experience their cruise.
To celebrate all their hard work and dedication we’ve put together a list of our favourite CEOs from across the industry. Read on for an overview of who they are, what they do and why they’re so unique!
Andrew Stuart – Norwegian Cruise Line
Appointed in March 2015, Andy is a relative newcomer to the CEO scene. That said, he does boast 27 years of experience with the company and has played an integral role in building the Norwegian brand into one of the industry’s most recognised names. He’s paramount to ensuring that the company continues to produce lucrative financial results, as well as pioneer new ways to enhance the passenger experience. We think that his previous role as Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Passenger Services – a position that saw him focus on strengthening relationships with travel partners – will seriously help him take Norwegian to new heights. He hails from the UK and brings irresistible British charm to every interview and press appearance he makes. Want to know more? Follow him on Twitter via @nclandy.
Larry Pimentel – Azamara
Pimentel is renowned as one of the industry’s most well-travelled luxury cruise veterans which made him the perfect candidate for the Azamara CEO position. He’s pioneered the line’s hard hitting strategic development plan which has seen it enjoy unprecedented growth and success over the past five years. His high end consumer travel experience is vast, with previous appointments at SeaDream Yacht Club, Cunard Line and Seabourn Cruise Line. Over the course of his career he’s been honoured with a plethora of industry awards, including the “2004 Leader in Luxury” award from Travel Agent magazine as well as “1998 Travel Industry Executive of the Year” from World Travel Mart.
Michael Bayley – Royal Caribbean International
Bayley stepped up to the position of CEO in December 2014 and hasn’t looked back since. As head honcho at the world’s largest cruise brand he has racked up over three decades of experience with Royal Caribbean and its partner line, Celebrity Cruises. Here he helped cement the brand’s status as a “modern luxury” cruise line and which saw Celebrity’s high end customer base skyrocket. Despite his current leadership role Bayley started off small in 1981, taking on a myriad of shipboard and shore side positions. He eventually worked his way up to Vice President of Total Guest Satisfaction, Fleet Operations which makes him an inspiration for ambitious hospitality professionals wanting to work their way up the ranks. In the past the Brit also took on the position of Vice President for Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino, one of the most prestigious venues on the Las Vegas strip. Perhaps this is why Royal Caribbean’s casinos are so dazzling!
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo – Celebrity Cruises
Sassy yet strongminded, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo is one of the cruise industry’s loveliest ladies. She took on the position in December 2014 and has spent the past eight months fortifying the brands iconic ‘X’ as a symbol of unsurpassed modern cruising luxury. Prior to her reign as Celebrity CEO she held the position of Executive Vice President, Operations for Royal Caribbean International, where she helped launch the line’s next generation of Quantum class ships. At Celebrity she’s immersed herself in shaping extraordinary guest experiences, spearheading the development $3.7 billion Solstice-class fleet that elevates the concept of luxury to a whole new level. In 2001 Travel Agent magazine crowned Lisa as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Travel” and we’re absolutely certain that her sovereignty is set to continue!
Ann Sherry – Carnival Australia
Since 2007 Ann has been overseeing Carnival’s operations in Australian waters. She’s an inspiration to women in the industry and has done wonders for breaking down gender barriers. Her passion is undoubtedly influenced by her previous role as First Assistant Secretary of the Office of the Status of Women in Canberra, where she advised the Prime Minister on policies and programs designed to improve the status of women. She also represented Australia at United Nations forums on human rights and women’s rights. Unlike other cruise CEOs Ann hasn’t always been involved in the industry. She has a lengthy background in banking that saw her rack up 12 years with Westpac, taking on roles such as Chief Executive Officer of Westpac New Zealand, CEO of the Bank of Melbourne and Group Executive of People & Performance. For over a decade she achieved immense cultural change, community engagement and customer focus that eventually saw her headhunted by Carnival Australia.
Jan Swartz – Princess Cruises
In 2013 Princess announced that Jan Swartz would be inaugurated as the latest company CEO. At the time she was regarded as being at the forefront of industry innovation which made her an extremely valuable asset for Princess Cruises. She well and truly lived up to her reputation and has played an integral role in helping the line roll out a series of exotic new destinations to over six continents. She personally fronted the Discovery At Sea programme which saw the line’s ships offer passengers unique experiences such as star gazing, Animal Planet shore excursions and a multitude of child-friendly on-board activities.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video, JDLasica, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade