Amid COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Royal Caribbean CEO urges CDC to update sailing guidance

CDC implements strict health protocols for cruise ship voyages

As the CDC implements new health protocols for the cruise ship industry, financial hardships haunt them as well; Phil Keating reports.

He’s got the cruise news.

The CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises has called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update its sailing guidance as the coronavirus vaccine is distributed across the U.S. The executive said that cruise companies (and customers) are eager to plan a safe return to the seas – revealing that Royal Caribbean has had 100,000 guests on 150 ships during the pandemic.

On Sunday, Chairman and CEO Richard Fain shared the scoop with travel advisors and partners in video message posted to Royal Caribbean’s official YouTube page.


“No longer are we talking about when will cruising restart, cruising has already restarted. Royal Caribbean Group has now carried over 100,000 guests on over 150 cruises during the pandemic. And out of the 100,000 guests, we’ve only had 10 people test positive for the COVID virus,” Fain said. “All of them have been handled smoothly and without undue disruption of other guest cruises, and without undue burden on the governments and communities involved.”

A spokesperson for the cruise line was not immediately available to offer further comment to Fox News regarding exactly where and when these voyages happened. Fain may have been alluding to the buzzed-about “mock voyages,” for which the company says over 150,000 have volunteered. Under CDC guidance, Royal Caribbean and competitor cruise lines will need cruising enthusiasts to step up and serve as passengers to assess their ability to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 before a larger return to service.  

“In essence, we’ve just had 100,000 test cruisers and demonstrated that the process works. We’re now able to achieve our objective of being safer than your home community,” Fain alleged. “It’s also important to note that our experience isn’t unique. The industry itself as a whole has carried more than 350,000 passengers and again, that’s happened with very few cases and minimal disruption.

“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. Interestingly, and importantly, all of this is before vaccines.”

On Sunday, Chairman and CEO Richard Fain shared the scoop with travel advisors and partners in video message posted to Royal Caribbean’s official YouTube page.
(Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Royal Caribbean)


Calling inoculations “the ultimate weapon” against the viral disease, Fain said that enhanced testing and improved contact tracing capabilities have created a “dramatic change in the landscape” for cruising. Royal Caribbean has recently announced it will resume sailing from Israel to Greece and Cyprus in May, and cruising around the Bahamas in June. Cruise lines Viking and P&O have also announced they will sail around the U.K. this summer, too.

“The response to these announcements has been exceptional. It all reinforces the view that there is an enormous amount of pent-up demand eager to cruise again,” Fain said of the news.

The CEO called for the CDC to review its stateside “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order” given increasing public access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“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,” Fain explained. “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.”


Now, Fain argued, a “vaccine approach” makes sense for a planned return to service.

“We don’t know what the CDC is contemplating to address this very different set of circumstances… but just as they and other public health officials are doing elsewhere, we expect they will adjust to the changes that have been and are taking place today,” he said. “The Conditional Sail Order was a very positive step at the time, but that time has passed.”

“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 added.

Source: Read Full Article