The Sun Sentinel recently published an article, the Top 10 Highest-Paid CEOs in South Florida. Included in the top ten  list, are three cruise executives: Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s Frank Del Rio, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Richard Fain, and Carnival Corporation’s Arnold Donald.

#1: Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s Frank Del Rio:

The highest paid cruise executive in 2018 was NCL’s Frank Del Rio, who collected a whopping $22,590,000 last year (up from $10,490,000 in 2017).

Mr. Del Rio received compensation valued at $2.9 million in 2016, down from almost $32 million in 2015. According to Seatrade Cruise News, Mr. Del Rio received compensation valued at $31.9 million in 2015, including nearly $17.8 million in stock options and $10.3 million in stock awards. His cash income was about $4 million including a salary of over $1.8 million, and a bonus of $1,900,000. Other compensation in 2015 included a cash automobile allowance, tax preparation service and a country club membership totalling $140,651.

#2: Royal Caribbean’s Richard Fain:

Royal Caribbean’s Chairman Richard Fain was the second highest paid cruise executive last year. In 2018, he collected $13,510,000 (versus $13,343,413 in 2017 and $10,405,684 in 2016). Mr. Fain was the highest paid cruise executive for 2016 and 2017.  Mr Fain has a net worth of over f $123,000,000.

#3: Carnival’s Arnold Donald:

CEO Donald was the third highest paid cruise executive in 2018. Last year, he collected $13,510,000 in 2018 (versus $13,050,000 in 2017) as the CEO of Carnival Corporation,  including stock awards of $7,000,000.  Mr. Donald has recently been in the news after he was ordered to appear together with Carnival Corporation’s board of directors before United States District Court Judge Patricia Seitz Carnival’s regarding Carnival’s ongoing violations of probation following its guilty plea to oil pollution, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

In the latest quarterly report by the Court Appointed Monitor (CAM), Carnival corporation’s “highest levels of management” were criticized for the cruise company’s ongoing failure to comply with its environmental probation.

Mr. Donald has a net worth reportedly over $68,500,000 and owns over 600,000 shares of Carnival Corporation stock personally and via a trust worth nearly $28,000,000.

How Much is Enough?

Last year, the three cruise line executives collected a total of $48,500,000 in compensation.

Mr. Del Rio alone collected $54,490,000 in just two years (2015 and 2018) and a total of $ $68,390,000 in the last four years.

Counting Nickels and Dimes

In an earning call in 2015, Mr. Del Rio made this statement: “… we have looked across the fleet to identify areas where marginal changes … can be implemented to improve performance. A few examples include a 6.7% average increase in beverage prices, the introduction of a nominal room service fee and lower costs from renegotiated shore excursion agreements. To put into perspective how these small changes can add up quickly, every dollar increase in yield translates to approximately $15 million to the bottom line.”

So how many NCL crew members must work over 12 hours a day, seven days a week, thirty days a month for eight months without a  day of vacation in order for CEO Del Rio to collect over $22,000,000 a year?

CEO’s like Del Rio benefit from an industry where the cruise lines pay no U.S. taxes and comply with no U.S. wage or labor laws which permits them to exploit workers from around the world. Meanwhile, they nickel-and-dime their tax-paying customers whenever they have a chance.

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Photo: Frank Del Rio – CNBC; Richard Fain – CNN Larry King Live; Arnold Donald – St. Louis Post.