Around the Water Cooler With Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein

Cruise with your boss, and you might find yourself in deep waters.

Cruise with your boss, and you might find yourself in deep waters
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An employee is out of vacation days, and uses a few sick days instead to, say, go on a cruise. The boss then finds out. What do you think the boss should do?

If the hypothetical involved me, I wouldn't be very pleased. I think what's much more important than any official sanctions is the knowledge that your supervisor is disappointed in you. You can say something like, "You forfeit some days of vacation next year because you didn't use them right this year," or "This is not the purpose of sick days. The purpose of sick days is if you're sick." But if you like your job, and you're ambitious and you believe you're upwardly mobile, the last thing you want to do is take stupid chances of disappointing your superiors in such a way that they don't think of you in those terms anymore.

[Read: A Frugal Traveler's Guide to Cheap Lodging.]

If a boss invites you to go on vacation with him or her, is it a good idea to go?

No. I am aware that this happens, and different people have very, very different thinking about this. But I really believe that the safest thing to do would be to safeguard your career. Obviously, it's a pleasant thing to have strong relationships that are enjoyable on a day-to-day basis and over the course of time, but I would advocate keeping a fairly clear difference between work and personal. Of course, who am I am to talk because I met my wife here at work. It was a long time ago. There were still dinosaurs at different parts of the world.

I will tell you that I would love to interact on a more personal level with many people here at work than I do. And I don't often because I really want to keep my personal world separate from my professional world. In upper management of a highly visible, somewhat glamorous and very public company, there is no mercy for how we conduct ourselves. None. So whether it's going on vacation with other people or whatever, I would say while it might be interesting to think about, you probably shouldn't do more than think about it.

If an employee has a lot of vacation days that he or she wants to use up by planning a trip, do you have any destination recommendations?

First of all, I should say I'm very much in favor of people taking their allotment of vacation days. I think it's important for their jobs, for their mental health and it's good to get out and see the world a little bit.

In terms of places that I might go to on a regular basis, I'm definitely a Francophile. I love France. I've been all over the country, and I'm always happy to be back in Paris and see new parts. People ask me all the time where's the best place to cruise – there are a lot of them. Alaska was basically made for cruising. I'm not exactly sure what God had in mind, but it's made for that.

In February, Carnival drew national media attention when its ship, Triumph, was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. And Royal Caribbean dealt with a recent fire on Grandeur of the Seas. What advice do you have for CEOs and managers for handling crisis situations?

Although every crisis has unique features, a company will improve its ability to handle virtually any type of event if roles and responsibilities are clear and established in advance, if crisis drills occur on a regular basis and if there is a cultural emphasis on responsiveness and transparency. Also, social media is now a primary driver of perception of how a company is handling a crisis – all companies should proactively take this phenomenon into account in their crisis management approach.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

Try to stay in one place. (laughs) I'm biased, I admit it. I've been here 25 years so when I see a résumé where somebody is constantly every 12, 18, 24 months at a new place, all the alarm bells are going off. And I realize that not everybody stays at one place for 25 years either. That's not really very realistic in today's day and age, but there are so many advantages if you can have a long and fulfilling career at one place. The relationships that you have with the people are very, very special. Your knowledge of the business, the industry, the different departments, what's going on in the company, the lingo – it's just, I find it very fulfilling.