Hello Bloggers. As I mentioned a few days ago Carnival Cruise Lines has added a new member to its impressive lineup of senior management. Ruben graciously agreed to give his first-ever interview to our blog so on the day we reached 750,000 readers it gives me great pleasure and honour (spelt correctly) to welcome him aboard.

A Special Interview with Carnival’s New Executive Vice President – Mr. Ruben Rodriguez

Before we talk about the future let’s chat about your past. Do I understand correctly that you have lived in the UK on several job assignments? Might we assume then that you are well-acquainted with the joys of Spotted Dick? And also please tell us ………….who is Ruben Rodriguez.

Yes! I have fond memories of English puddings, including Spotted Dick. But I must admit that my favourite (yes, I can spell your way…) is Sticky Toffee Pudding, closely followed by Bread & Butter Pudding. Yum!

As to who is Ruben Rodriguez… many things, I suppose. Happy husband and father of two. Lover of the sea and all things nautical, including Carnival’s fabulous “Fun Ships.” A bit of a world traveler (albeit probably less so than you). Consumer marketing executive eager to get started at Carnival!

2. You must be so excited to join the World’s Most Popular Cruise Line. How did this come about?

I got to know Carnival and the executive team last year when they retained my firm, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), to advise them on business strategy. It was an exciting assignment and I quickly realized that it’s a great company, led by a fantastic management team. As you may know, Carnival has had a Chief Marketing Officer search in place for some time. When Bob Dickinson retired and Gerry Cahill took over as CEO, Gerry decided to go in a slightly different direction, seeking an executive to focus not only on marketing but also on guest experience. Gerry and I have known each other for about a year now, given Carnival’s relationship with BCG. He approached me about the opportunity a couple of months ago, I decided to explore it with him, and here I am… very excited to be joining the Carnival team!

3. So, you are arrive on the first day at the office. You sit down at your desk…….have a drink of tea or coffee (which) and then…………what? How will you spend your first few days in your new position?

Espresso or Cuban coffee, I’m afraid. Not tea. I suppose that aspect of my London days did not stick!

Most of my time in the first few days will go to meeting with Carnival colleagues, both shipboard and shoreside. Those conversations will focus on learning more about our business and on exploring any and all opportunities to further build on the great vacation experiences we offer to our guests. Another focus will be our marketing efforts – how to most effectively communicate with our guests, travel agents and other key partners.

4. When you think of today’s Carnival words that come to mind.

Fun, family, friends, adventures but also relaxing, leisure, great times!

5. What words would you use to describe your vision for tomorrow’s Carnival?

The same words, except perhaps even more fun, different kinds of fun, fun the way our guests define it for themselves, whether it is music and dancing in our lounges, great dining at The Supper Club, relaxing by our new Serenity areas, exploring exotic new ports…. Different guests have different definitions of fun and we want to exceed all those expectations.

6. Will you be able to come and sail on some of the ships so you can see what we do and view the demographics of our guests?

Absolutely – in fact, we already have a few cruises scheduled. I sailed on Carnival Imagination last year – can’t wait to see other ships, experience new itineraries, meet more guests and crew.

Now, as is tradition in this blog thingy it is time for some “get to know you questions”…………..here we go.

7. What three ports of call that our ships go to that you have not visited would you most like to sail to.

Well, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and I am an avid boater living in Miami, so I know the Caribbean pretty well and I love it! So I’ll highlight three new destinations, outside the Caribbean, that I am keen to visit with Carnival: Glacier Bay (Alaska), Istanbul (Turkey) and Recife (Brazil).

8. How does Ruben Rodriguez relax

Cooking – I love to cook! In fact, I’m intrigued by Pier Foschi’s recipe for Penne alla Vodka. I’ll have to give him a call… hopefully it’s not a family secret!

9. Tell us your favorites please

FOOD…………………………..is it a sandwich……….maybe a Rueben………..I know, you have never heard that one before.

Italian, of course. Neapolitan pizza is probably my favorite. As far as sandwiches, I’m afraid I don’t like Reuben sandwiches – the corned beef is fine and I love toasted rye bread, but I’m not a fan of sauerkraut. I do love pressed sandwiches, like Italian paninis or Cubano sandwiches.

MUSIC

All kinds – classic rock, alternative, reggae, jazz, classical, bossa nova… I must admit my iPod has changed my life. Lately my kids have introduced me to hip hop and (to my surprise) I really like it, particularly The Black Eyed Peas.

TELEVISION SHOW

24 . Best show on TV. Full stop.

MOVIE

Wow, there are so many… I love going to the movies. I suppose the James Bond series are among my favorites, especially the old ones with Sean Connery.

FICTIONAL SUPERHERO

James Bond! As a Brit, I figured you’d appreciate that : )

FUNNY MAN/WOMAN

Jim Carrey. Did you see Bruce Almighty? He was hilarious in that film. He reminds me of Jerry Lewis, another master of physical comedy.

ACTOR

Jack Nicholson – it’s impressive how he can be both very funny, and very scary.

ACTRESS

Dianne Keaton – I can’t think of any Dianne Keaton film that I did not love… Annie Hall, The Godfather I/II/III, Baby Boom, Reds, Something’s Gotta Give… so many great films!

10. Finally, do you have a welcome message to the thousands of Carnival shoreside and shipboard employees?

I am thrilled to join Carnival and can’t wait to meet and hopefully get to know many of you…. and I look forward to hearing all your ideas on how we can continue to deliver outstanding vacations to our guests!

Thanks, Ruben, for taking the time to answer my questions. We are all excited that you are joining us and we all wish you much success and happiness for the future………………..Did you know that it is customary for all new Executive Vice Presidents to buy all the Senior cruise Directors an Aston Martin? ………………….black please………..the Vanquish S.

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.