How Micky Arison Became The World’s Largest Cruise Operator And Made His Billions

Who would have thought that a job which allows you to have fun and vacation while at it could make you one of the world’s richest people? Or that while serving the richest and most elite people in the world, you could one day become like them too? Let’s dig into how Micky Arison made himself a fortune worth billions of dollars while he operated one of the largest cruise ship businesses in the world. How did he achieve this? Is the cruise ship business that lucrative? Let’s find out in this piece!

Who is Micky Arison?

Micky Meir Arison is an Israeli-American businessman who was born in Tel Aviv, Israel to Mina Wassermann and Theodore Arison on June 29th, 1949. He might not have been born into massive wealth, but his father Ted Arison was a well-known cruise operator who had immigrated with his family to America in the early 1950s. Micky Arison attended the University of Miami Business School but in 1972, he dropped out to become a sales representative for Carnival Cruise Line which was a company his father newly founded at the time, two years later, he became reservations manager for the same company, and five years later, he became president of the company with just three ships.

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Micky Arison And Carnival Cruise Line

Micky Arison’s personal journey in Carnival Cruise Line officially started in the late 1970s to early 1980s when he was first made president and a few years later, he decided to expand the company by creating its parent company called Carnival Corporation & PLC in 1993. He was the chairman and CEO of the parent company and led the company to gain IPO in 1987, this move fostered numerous significant acquisitions for Cruise Corporation Plc and saw it become one of the largest leisure and vacation cruise companies in the world today. Carnival Cruise Line became a subsidiary of Cruise Corporation Plc. alongside the introduction of notable fleets of ships, the world knows today such as Tropicale, and Fantasy all within the span of the early 1980s and late 1980s.

Arison and Cruise Corporation Plc.

Micky Arison started Carnival Cruise Line with just 2 ships and he had notable expansions between the early 1980s and late 1980s. In the early 1990s, he further expanded to sailing under several cruise lines like Princess, Destiny Class, Carnival Destiny, Paradise, and Elation which was the first cruise ship to have innovative Azipod propulsion. In 1987, Carnival Cruise Line sold 20% shares in their first public offering, which helped them raise about $400 million, and acquired the Holland America Line two years later.

By the early 2000s which was the beginning of the modern era, the fleet was further expanded to accommodate ships like The Carnival Spirit which was the first in the fleet before Spirit Class Cruise Ship, Jubilee, Celebration, and Holiday. In 2009, Carnival Dream, their biggest ship at the time was brought on board, a sister ship came out in 2011 as Carnival Magic, and another two came out in 2012 and 2018 as Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon, Queen Latifah was the godmother of Carnival Horizon, in fact, she christened her in May 2018.

By the time he stepped down after spending 34 years as CEO of the company in 2013, he had acquired well over 100 cruise ships that served over 11 million people annually with a revenue of $1.9 billion each successful year, solely developing the company into the world’s largest and most popular multinational cruise line. Micky Arison is still the chairman of the company and he keeps track of cruise ships, hotel holdings, diversified travel, and tourism holdings.

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The Miami Heat Expansion, Shares, And Investments

In 1995, Micky Arison acquired the NBA franchise Miami Heat from his father, this was seven years after his father cofounded and helped bring the NBA franchise to Florida in 1988 and he made a smart move to make Pat Riley team president and head coach right after. Micky Arison is the managing general partner of the Miami Heat, and since his ownership, the team has won three NBA championships.

The first one was in 2006, the second one was six years later, and the second win came two years after the acquisition of the league’s most valuable player, LeBron James, while the third win was in 2013. Micky Arison is currently a shareholder in Cruise Corporation Plc. with a stake of about 8.8% through Wilmington, a Delaware-based holding company, and several trusts. The majority of his stake in Carnival Cruise Line was passed down to him by his father Ted Arison, who died in 1999. He also has shares in Miami Heat and the total worth of his cash holdings is based on proceeds from insider transactions, taxes, dividends, and market performance his current net worth is estimated to be $9.53 billion.

The Arison Family And His Philanthropic Ventures

Micky Arison is married to Madeleine Arison with two children, Kelly Arison and Nick Arison who is the current CEO of Miami heat, and his sister Shari Arison is the wealthiest woman in Israel where she resides. Micky Arison lives a luxurious lifestyle and he is a proud owner of three yachts, and a private jet he lives in a penthouse in Bal Harbour, Florida. Micky Arison and his wife are greatly invested in philanthropy, together with Carnival Corporation Plc, they have supported several community service and arts-related organizations including; The Miami Project to cure paralysis, The National Young Arts Foundation, and The Miami Children Museum. Through their family foundation, Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation which has over $160 million in assets, they make yearly donations of well over $40 million to Direct Relief and Save the Children, Hurricane Irma Relief, and the Mourning Family Foundation to foster youth development.

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Sources: Forbes, Bloomberg, and Investopedia.

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