The CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, Richard Fain, has highlighted the changing times since the CDC’s conditional sail order in October and hopes for a more topical approach to the resumption of cruising.
“The CDC issued the conditional sale order last October in an effort to provide a path for cruising to reopen in the United States … When the conditional sale order was written, there were no vaccines. The disease was on an upward trajectory and heading towards a terrible peak. Testing was less available and more costly, and therapeutics were limited. In general, the situation looked very bleak back then,” Fain said in a video post on social media.
“Last October, preparing for resumption service based on extensive protocols made good sense. But today, a vaccine approach makes much more sense than this old protocol-based approach. The vaccines are bringing down the incidence of COVID-19 in society; the testing enables us to catch cases early. And the preparation we’re doing allows us to handle individual cases safely and simply,’ he added.
Fain said that he expects that the CDC will take these changes into consideration.
“We look forward to a constructive dialogue with health officials in the United States and elsewhere, for the path forward under these new circumstances,” he said.
According to Fain, 100,000 cruisers have sailed aboard Royal Caribbean Group’s ships since the pandemic started, with 10 having tested positive for the coronavirus.
“And all of them have been handled smoothly and without undue disruption of other guests’ cruises. And without undue burden on the communities and the governments involved,’ he said. “Our experience with these 100,000 guests is a very powerful proof of concept. In essence, we’ve just had 100,000 test cruisers and demonstrated that the process works.”
The cruise industry overall has carried more than 350,000 passengers since the pandemic with “minimal disruption,” he added.
“This is precisely what we thought would be the case. And now it is the most powerful and reliable evidence in multiple real-world settings,” he said. “No longer are we talking about when will cruising restart cruising has already restarted.”
Fain also said that Royal Caribbean’s post-pandemic cruises have received higher ratings from guests than pre-pandemic.
Fain also stated that the coronavirus vaccines are a “gamechanger,” but he can’t say yet if all Royal Caribbean sailings will require them from guests.
“We have announced three cruises that will require inoculations for all adults, and there are likely to be more. But each circumstance is different. And I would note that the cruises we are currently operating are operating without requiring vaccines,” he said.
Fain finally called on people not to become complacent, as letting “our guard down” and stopping to take simple precautions would cause another spike.
“I, therefore, encourage all of you to get your vaccine, follow the CDC advice, and we can be sailing in time to meet President Biden’s goal of reopening society in time for the Fourth of July,” he concluded