Carnival Cruise Line is already known for bringing it in the fun department, especially for families, but it appears the company is looking to ratchet things up a few notches with their latest hire, a CFO.
No, not a chief financial officer, but rather a “chief fun officer.” Clearly, the company needed to find someone who knows a thing or two about having a good time to fill such an important role and, after an extensive search, the person they hired couldn’t be more perfect for the job.
“I’ll be responsible for letting the world know that this ship is not just a ship with a whole bunch of rooms. There’s nothing boring about this ship,” Shaquille O’Neal — yes, the basketball legend — told Travel + Leisure about his new appointment as Carnival’s CFO.
And it seems O’Neal is in love with not only his new gig, but also all the amenities Carnival’s ships have offer. Especially the food.
“You’ve got an outdoor basketball court, you’ve got a library, you’ve an all you can eat buffet,” Shaq said as he listed off all the benefits of boarding the new Carnival ship Horizon. “You’ve got everything on this ship.”
As part of his CFO ambassador duties, Shaq will not only become the face of the brand in ads, but he will also be boarding at least two cruises this year. He wouldn’t reveal which ones, however, as he wanted to keep it a surprise for passengers. “I’ll give you a hint,” he said. “It’s somewhere in the Caribbean.”
And really, who isn’t hoping to run into someone as fun-loving as Shaq when they are cruising through the open water?
“Much like our guests, Shaq is all about having a good time with a spontaneous up-for-anything mentality that makes him simply fun to be around,” Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president, told Travel + Leisure. “When I was first approached about the idea of having Shaq in this role, I couldn’t think of a better person who embodies what the Carnival brand is all about.”
The Carnival Horizon is set to debut in Europe in the spring. Or, for something a bit closer to home, travelers from the U.S. can always hop aboard Horizon’s sister ship, Carnival Vista, which now comes complete with a Dr. Seuss-themed water park and a new Smokehouse Brewhouse from Guy Fieri. This year, Carnival will also be returning to Cuba aboard the Carnival Paradise.
“It’s great for families; moms and dads get to spend quality time with each other as the kids go play,” Shaq said. And really, the cruises are fun for anyone who’s still a kid at heart.
“Let me tell you something, I was in the arcade room and I got in trouble a couple of times playing those games,” Shaq admitted. “I like going to places that bring me back to my youthful days.”
As for what to pack for a trip on a ship, Shaq said all you need are “six or seven” pairs of swimming trunks, linen pants, floral button downs, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Oh, and he has one more suggestion for Carnival: Let him bring on an assistant CFO. “I’d have to go with Kevin Hart,” Shaq said of who he’d pick for the job. “Could you imagine us on this ship?”
Yes, we can, and we hope it happens. Though for now it’s clear that Shaq is more than capable of fulfilling his job duties.