In an interview with Radio 2's Jeremy Vine at The Travel Convention in Barcelona -- a gathering of 1,000 of the U.K.'s most senior travel industry executives -- Arison was asked if he had "ship envy" over Oasis of the Seas. The Carnival boss replied: "Queen Mary 2 (150,000 tons) is probably the biggest ship we will ever build. Carnival Dream at 130,000 tons is probably as large as we will build for Carnival. We built a ship of 116,000 tons (Ventura) for P&O Cruises and I have no intention of going bigger. I think at these sizes, we can deliver the right level of service and value."
Arison also hinted that the biggest mega-ships were too restricted in terms of where they could sail. "We try to build within a size that will give us the most flexibility," he said. "We like to be able to access ports like Venice and to fit under certain bridges."
Oasis of the Seas, which sails some inaugural cruises in late November and embarks on its maiden voyage in December, will cruise the Caribbean year-round and will be restricted to the ports that can take the very largest ships -- among them St. Maarten, Nassau and St. Thomas.
Vine also pushed Arison on the issue of discounting, suggesting that a brawl on P&O's Ventura last Christmas, much publicised in the U.K. media at the time, was the result of lowering prices to an extent that P&O was attracting "people who shouldn't be on ships at all."
But Arison was resolute that his policy of filling ships at any price was not related to the incident. "Each brand makes its own pricing decisions," he said. "They do what they have to do. Whether someone starts a fight is not an issue of what they earn; it's more to do with how much beer they've consumed and what their personal circumstances are."
Carnival Corp. has brands spanning across the globe. They include AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America, Iberocruceros, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises and Seabourn.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor