“We believe we can make it so you are safer on a ship than on Main Street,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises on the company’s third quarter earnings call.
“Europe has demonstrated that,” he added, referring to TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd and Silversea having operated 70 cruises.
“They have demonstrated the ability to prevent (virus) spread on the ships and to deal with any incidents.”
Before the start-up in Europe this past summer, Fain that that the cruise brands had worked closely with public health experts and political authorities.
“TUI and Hapag-Loyd are continuing to operate, because we have seen such good results,” Fain said, adding that he is optimistic that the industry will soon have a pathway to resume operations.
“This may be slower than I wish, but faster than what many be assuming.”
With ships offering a controlled environment, Fain also noted that they can in effect be “bubbles” offering less risk than on land.
Meanwhile, a return would first involve trial cruises with outside observers aboard, he noted.
“The concept of trial cruises is important; we’ll have the opportunity to see the protocols in action and make adjustments.”
According to Jason Liberty, CFO and senior vice president, plans call for a limited return (for the North American brands) which will ramp up during 2021, focusing on key markets in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.
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