Business/Competitive Strategy
HOME Over the years Carnival Cruise Lines has effectively used a business strategy that has consistently improved their competitive position not only in the cruise line industry, but also in the vacation marketplace as a whole.  This strategy has helped Carnival become the largest, most popular, and most profitable cruise line in the world.

As a company decides what type of competitive strategy to follow, a couple of questions need to be answered.  First, is the strategy going to consist of going after the largest and most desirable target market, or will it focus on a more narrow, niche market?  Second, will the strategy be to compete on low cost or on differentiation of products or services (Wheelen et al, p.118)?

Carnival Corporation decided to focus on the broader, mass market and they landed smack-dab in the middle of it.  Of the approximate 2.5 million passengers that cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines each year, 30% are under the age of 35, 40% are between 35 and 55, and 30% are 55 years-of-age and older.  In addition, Carnival also carries more than 350,000 kids every year (

Carnivalís competitive business strategy to reach every segment of the target population is complemented by the organizationís
corporate growth strategy.  This has been accomplished by a number of acquisitions that has resulted in the Carnival Family of Companies.  Although the ink isnít dry yet, it appears that Princess Cruises will be the newest member of the family that will help Carnival in their quest to reach the broadest market possible.

Although Carnivalís competitive scope has focused on the broad market, they have maintained their competitive advantage with a healthy balance between both differentiation strategies and low-cost strategies.

Carnival's Strategies

Differentiation Strategy

Cost Leadership

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