His company, Carnival Corporation, purchased British-owned Cunard in 1998 and resuscitated the venerable cruise line, founded in 1840 but slowly sinking under the weight of an old fleet.
Soon after purchasing Cunard, Micky and his Carnival Corporation ordered the Queen Mary 2. Cunard’s first purpose-built ship since the 1970’s marked the beginning of a new life for the company, and the line has since taken delivery of two additional ships, Queen Victoria in 2007 and Queen Elizabeth in 2010.
Carnival Corporation’s capital infusion makes Cunard “one of the oldest names in passenger shipping, now operating the youngest fleet in the world,” says the friendly and capable Peter Shanks, Cunard Line’s president.
Simply put, Micky Arison saved Cunard, which should put him in the ranks of British royalty and nobility. So where are his titles and medals?
I, and a group of fellow journalists, ran into Micky aboard the new Queen Elizabeth. We had been talking to Lord Jeffrey Sterling, the Life President of P&O Cruises, and much-bedecked with medals that lined the upper pocket of his jacket and hung from his neck.
When asked, the affable Lord Sterling gave us a brief summary of the meaning of the medals. Turning later to Wikipedia for further explanation, I learned that he had been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1977 and was knighted in the 1985 New Year’s Honours List, for public services and services to industry. He was created a life peer as Baron Sterling of Plaistow, of Pall Mall in the City of Westminster in 1990 peer in Mrs Margaret Thatcher’s resignation honours list. He holds an honorary commission in the Royal Naval Reserve of Rear Admiral and is associated with HMS President.
As we stood there, I informed the others that Micky also had a medal of sorts: the NBA championship ring that he proudly wore.
Owner of the Miami Heat and a basketball fanatic, Micky told us that he would be heading back to Florida the next day to see his team (literally, his team) play against Moscow (the Heat won 96-85). Standing there with his wife Madeleine, Micky expressed pride in recruiting Lebron James, who he called the “world’s best basketball player.” Clearly, Micky brings equal enthusiasm to basketball and cruising.
I for one would like to see Micky awarded a peerage title for saving Cunard. I don’t know whether such titles require British citizenry. Apparently not. A quick search on the internet reveals that Micky, or anyone for that matter, can acquire a title for the low price of $197 (normally a $397 value!), and according to the advertising copy, buyers can expect a lifetime of privilege.
Should Micky ever find himself lacking for recognition, he’ll be glad to know that a noble title is also “a fantastic icebreaker which gains instant respect and credibility,” according to the claims at http://www.RegalTitles.com/.
But alas, Micky Arison is not one for such pomp and circumstance. Somewhat shy by nature, he likely wouldn’t wear medals that would attract additional attention. No, I am quite certain that for Micky Arison a peerage title for saving Cunard isn’t necessary. A simple thank you would do just fine.