Adolfo Perez, the senior vice president of global sales and trade marketing at Carnival Cruise Line, is this year’s winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
The award, which was given last year to three individuals including Cruise Planners’ Scott Koepf, is given to “an individual who is a lifetime champion of cruise travel and has made monumental contributions to the cruise industry.”
The award is a long-time coming for Perez, who this year is marking 40 years with Carnival at the same time the company celebrates its 50th birthday. Perez is one of a number of Carnival executives who have taken home the honor, following in the footsteps of Carnival legends including founder Ted Arison, Micky Arison, and Bob Dickinson.
In an interview with TMR Perez reflected on those four decades with Carnival and the achievement.
“It’s hard for me to imagine being on a stage that people like Ted Arison, Bob, Vicki Freed,” he said. “To be on the same stage as those icons of this business makes me emotional thinking about it.”
Perez has his whole career with Carnival, first hired as an embarkation agent at PortMiami when he was a high school junior. He told TMR that the 40 years, “literally a lifetime,” he spent with Carnival allowed him to do so many things he never thought he’d get the opportunity to do.
His work with the travel trade, and growing Carnival’s relationship with advisors and agencies, is the thing he is most proud of, he added.
“I feel like the work that I’ve done with the trade over the past 7 years is probably the best work I’ve done,” he said. “I am really proud of how quickly I was able to strengthen Carnival’s standing with agents.”
Even with all those achievements on his resume, Perez is still humbled by the award and told TMR that “I didn’t do any of it on my own.”
“At the end of the day, I didn’t do any of it. I got support from Christine Duffy, from my boss Ken, and from the team, the BDMs, the people that were in the trenches with Carnival. It’s an award for them as much as it is for me.”
“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this stuff without my team and if not for Ted Arison and Mickey and Mickey Arison,” he added.
Perez has also had a front-row seat to how Carnival has transformed itself into a global, mega cruise company over his time with the company. Even with that growth, he told TMR that the company has remained family to him over the years.
“At the end of the day, it never stops feeling like a family. I feel like I have access to people that have always made me feel part of the family. You might not necessarily get that experience in a lot of other places,” he said.
Both Christine Duffy and Arnold Donald, two other Carnival luminaries, added their praise for Perez.
“Adolfo epitomizes the essence of partnership and support to our travel partners, and he has enhanced the impact our company has in continuing to deliver memorable vacations to all,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line president.
“Adolfo has been an integral part of Carnival’s success and the growth and success of the global cruise industry for 40 years. We are proud to join with all our partners and friends in the industry to recognize and celebrate Adolfo on his incredible career – and no doubt there is more success to come,” said Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corp.