Carnival Founder Ted Arison Dies
The creator of the world's largest cruise shipping company found his roots in the family cargo shipping business.
As initially reported in the October 1999 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, Ted Arison, a pioneer of the modern-day cruise industry, died in Tel Aviv, Israel, from heart failure. He was 75. Arison co-founded Norwegian Caribbean Lines in Miami in 1966. In 1972 he started Carnival Cruise Lines utilizing a refurbished former transatlantic liner. By the time he retired as chairman of Carnival in late 1990, the company had become a threebrand line, Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line, and Windstar Cruises operating 15 ships. As the organization continued to grow, a corporate holding company, Carnival Corporation, was created in 1993. Today Carnival Corporation operates six brands, wholly owning Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises, with majority interests in Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruise Line and Costa Cruises. (Note: At press time, Carnival formerly announced a plan to purchase the remaining interest in Cunard.) Following his retirement, Arison continued to be active in the cruise business serving as a consultant overseeing Carnival Corporation's multi-billion dollar shipbuilding program. Since 1982, Arison directed the construction of 20 new passenger ships for Carnival Corporation companies.
Arison's son Micky assumed the chairmanship of Carnival in 1990 on his father's retirement, and is also now managing general partner of the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat. The Early Years A family tradition in shipping helped Ted Arison gain the experience that would place him in the forefront of modern, post-war passenger cruising. The Israeli-born son of a ship owner, Arison decided to by-pass a career in the industry for an engineering education. He entered the American University of Beirut at age 16, but World War II interrupted his studies.
Joining the British Army, he served in Italy and Germany, attaining the rank of sergeant major.
After the war, Arison's father died and, as the only son, he was asked to assume control of the family business, M.
Dizengoff and Co., shipowners and general agents for several lines.
Two years later, he was back in uniform serving his native country as a lieutenant colonel during the Israeli War of Independence. In the early 1950's, the Dizengoff firm was sold to Zim Lines and Arison operated his own fleet of cargo ships under Panamanian and Honduran flags. A depressed market, which reached its low point after the Korean War, convinced him to give up shipping entirely, and he liquidated his operation to move to the U.S.
For a 12-year period beginning in 1954, Arison embarked on a number of ventures in the air cargo industry, including a publicly traded company with a $10 million market value. In 1966, however, he chose to retire in Miami and sold his holdings to the parent firm.
But soon afterward, he gave up early retirement to assume the management of a passenger shipping company in Miami. A disastrous financial situation left that company without a vessel, and Arison called upon Norwegian ship owner Knut Kloster, whose new Sunward recently had been completed in Europe. Less than two weeks later, Arison and Kloster negotiated agreements that brought the Sunward to Miami, and thus begun Norwegian Caribbean Lines. The company later initiated the first packaged air fare and cruise combinations which are a staple of today's industry. Kloster and Arison parted company in 1972 and, almost immediately, Arison entered into the financial arrangement which resulted in the acquisition of the Mardi Gras and the start of Carnival Cruise Line