The change in chief executive at Carnival Corporation has “nothing to do” with recent incidents with its ships, according to new boss Arnold Donald.

He was speaking publicly for the first time after current chief executive and chairman Mickey Arison announced on Tuesday that the roles are being split and he will continue as chairman from next month.

Donald, a board member of Carnival for 12 years, was interviewed by the CBS This Morning show in the US.

Asked whether the bad publicity generated by a series of problems to ships this year such as Carnival Triumph in the wake of 2012’s Costa Concordia disaster had prompted the change at the top, Donald said:

“I can understand the juxtaposition, the time frames. Micky has been considering this for some time and actually delayed it because of the incidents.”

Referring to Arison, Donald added: “He, really, after 34 years and in good governance practice in the UK and trends here in the US felt it was important to separate the roles.

“We’re constantly seeking improvements for comfort and enjoyment for our passengers and I look forward to continuing to do that.”

When asked about the results of a recent Harris poll in the US which revealed a downturn in public confidence in cruises, Donald said Carnival was “constantly” making investments on the ships, saying “we have, you know, many, many satisfied guests.”

And those passengers are taking advantage of lower prices as the cruise company attempts to reach out to new customers, Donald pointed out.

“Overall, we do fill the ships in the end. … I would say encourage people to take advantage of those prices because they won’t last very long,” he said.