Mar. 5--THE FINER THINGS: Bob Dickinson's passion for wine is reflected in his extensive home cellar.
People close to Dickinson say he actually has mellowed in the 23 years since he joined Carnival and, soon afterward, convinced founder Ted Arison to rescind a decision to fire him.
"I love Bob," said Karine Armstrong, a former Carnival employee who is vice president of marketing for Princess Cruise Lines. "He's brilliant- his IQ is off the charts - and he's so much fun to watch. You never know when he's going to go off."
Today, Carnival and the cruise industry are big, successful businesses - in part because of Dickinson's efforts.
He helped change the image of cruising from a pastime for rich people to something for the middle class. That change in consumer perception was perhaps the single most important event in the development of the modern cruise industry.
"When I got into cruising, people thought it was something you did in your twilight years, something for old people and their parents," Dickinson said. "At that time, cruising was old people in deck chairs with …