Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest leisure travel company, announced that its Arison Maritime Center in the Netherlands will honor the legacy of the Arison family who founded and grew the company into the world’s largest cruise line operation. The company also announced that construction is now well under way for what will be a spectacular state-of-the-art campus located in Almere, just outside Amsterdam. A grand opening celebration at the center is scheduled for July 14, 2016.
The centerpiece of the new seven-acre campus is the CSMART Academy, the Center for Simulator Maritime Training for Carnival plc, a part of Carnival Corporation & plc. The CSMART Academy will feature the most advanced bridge and engine room simulator technology and equipment available, with enough space to complete rigorous annual professional training for the company’s deck and engineering officers for its 10 global cruise line brands. When complete, it will be the most progressive maritime center of its kind in the world for training and continually improving industry-wide safety and excellence.
At nearly 110,000 square feet, the center is more than double the size of the company’s current facility, which has been in operation since 2009 in Almere. The new CSMART Academy at the Arison Maritime Center will feature four full-mission bridge simulators and four full-mission engine room simulators, designed to provide a wide array of programming and simulated exercises that can recreate an extensive range of maritime scenarios.
The new five-story center will also include 24 part-task engine simulators, eight debriefing rooms and eight part-task bridge simulators. The seven-acre campus will have double the training capacity of the existing location and is expected to train over 6,500 deck and engineering officers every year. It will also include an advanced medical center and an 11-story, 176-room hotel for Carnival Corporation trainees.
The new Arison Maritime Center honors the legacy of the Arisons, the first family of cruising. Micky Arison has been chairman of the board of directors for Carnival Corporation & plc since 1990. He began his career at Carnival Cruise Line in 1972 in sales and was named reservations manager in 1974, vice president of passenger traffic in 1976 and president in 1979. In 1990 he was appointed chairman of Carnival Corporation by the company’s board of directors. In 2013, the role of Carnival Corporation chairman and CEO was split, with Arison continuing as chairman and longtime board member Arnold Donald being named CEO. Considered one of the most respected leaders and experts in the cruise industry, Arison’s vision and leadership played the central role in building Carnival Corporation into the world’s largest cruise company and helping grow cruising from a niche holiday to one of the most popular vacation experiences available.
His late father, Ted Arison, founded the company in 1972 with one ship with the firm belief that cruising is one of the best ways to enjoy a vacation and a commitment to making cruising available to people from all walks of life. Referred to by The New York Times as “the godfather of the modern cruise industry,” he is credited with building cruise operations that give travelers the opportunity to enjoy a cruise vacation with prices that range from affordable to upscale. Today, the company has 101 ships, over 120,000 employees and welcomes 11 million guests annually. About one of every two travelers who go on a cruise vacation do so a on Carnival Corporation ship.
“When complete, the Arison Maritime Center and CSMART Academy will be an extraordinary operation dedicated to providing our deck and technical officers – the heart and soul of ensuring our ships operate as safely as possible – with the most advanced and progressive training, professional development and research in the cruise and maritime industry,” said David Christie, senior vice president of maritime quality assurance for Carnival Corporation. “Safety is our top priority and we take great pride in providing the world’s most comprehensive maritime safety training to our highly skilled and dedicated deck and engineering officers in our pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement. This center underscores the depth of our commitment to the safety and comfort of our guests who sail with us to over 700 ports around the world.”
Added Christie: “It is very special for all of us at Carnival Corporation to honor the extraordinary leadership and legacy of Ted and Micky and their families, who recognized early on that going on a cruise would be a great way to enjoy a vacation. They not only led the way in building the world’s largest cruise company with 10 cruise lines that represent some of the world’s best leisure brands, but they also played leading roles in helping grow cruising into one of the most popular vacation experiences in the world. The Arison family has been an inspiration for all of us at the company, and we are proud to establish the Arison Maritime Center in their honor.”
With the exterior of the facility in place and the on-campus hotel having reached its peak height, the final phase of construction consists chiefly of the installation of the necessary technology and the industry’s most advanced bridge and engine room simulators. Carnival Corporation was “handed over” the facility at a ceremony in April. A larger event featuring Carnival Corporation global leadership and international dignitaries is scheduled for Thursday, July 14, when the Arison Maritime Center will be officially opened.
In addition to state-of-the-art simulator technology and world-class facilities, Carnival Corporation has assembled a team of deeply experienced and committed CSMART Academy instructors who have developed a curriculum that sets the industry standard for safety and marine training and keeps pace with advances in maritime and ship technology. In particular, the CSMART Academy has played a leading role in developing and refining a function-based bridge and engine room management system on a large scale.
The function-based system creates what is known as organizational redundancy – giving every member of the bridge and engine room teams a voice and role in safely operating the ship and encouraging officers at all levels to speak up. Officers work under the captain’s and chief engineer’s direction as a coordinated team to manage bridge and engine rooms based on specific functions, with tasks verbalized, agreed upon and then executed.
In keeping with the faculty team’s leadership, the Arison Maritime Center will provide the additional space needed to implement the industry’s first Proficiency Training and Assessment (PTA) program. The week-long course is based on a specially developed curriculum that annually refreshes and then evaluates each of the corporation’s maritime officers.
Carnival Corporation worked with Dutch property group AMVEST Vastgoed B.V. to purchase the seven-acre plot of land in Almere Poort called the DUIN, a planned business and residential community in Almere, one of Europe’s newest and fastest growing cities. The center’s campus and buildings were designed by Dutch architect Paul de Ruiter, and the Dutch construction company Dura Vermeer has built the CSMART Academy and hotel. The design and construction are being built to meet rigorous environmental and sustainability standards that will achieve “LEED Gold” certification, and the campus will fit esthetically into the Duin environment, per AMVEST’S original plan for the development.
“All of us at Carnival Corporation want to thank everyone who has made us feel so welcome in the Netherlands,” said Christie. “From the moment we began looking into establishing a presence in the Netherlands in 2009, we were embraced by members of the business community and government officials in Almere, Amsterdam and the Netherlands. This includes the current and past mayors of Almere, the Dutch Ambassador to Italy, the Dutch Consulate in Miami and its trade office in Atlanta, along with many others. We have found the Netherlands to be a great place to do business, and we appreciate everyone making us feel so welcome and at home in Almere. We look forward to completing the Arison Maritime Center and continuing to have a long and productive operation in the Netherlands.”