CEO: Cruise line ‘in sight of the downward slope’ of COVID-19 challenges

As Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Fain proclaimed Monday that the cruise line is developing procedures to ensure passengers are “safer on a cruise ship than in your home town”, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said in an address on Monday that cruise lines have indicated to him that they do not want to immediately visit population centers like Nassau and Freeport.

Fain, who has regularly addressed the cruise line’s travel partners through Youtube videos since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, indicated that he is confident “we are getting closer to the other side of this crisis every day”.

Fain said cruise ships are special environments that require special needs to be balanced with health protocols. For this reason, D’Aguilar contended that cruise lines will be concerned about how and where their passengers embark and disembark a ship. 

“Certainly when they start, they are going to be very concerned about how their customers go off their ships and what they do before they come back on,” said D’Aguilar.

“I think the cruise companies will be extremely cautious when they restart. They would have won a battle with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and I think the CDC will have put a lot of requirements on them.

“They are indicating to me that they don’t want to come to our population centers, they want to go to their private islands where they can control the process. But I told them that as the minister of tourism of The Bahamas, I can only accept that for a short period… but you need to come to our population centers to start making an economic impact.”

He added that nobody knows when cruise lines will begin sailing again, though most of them are aiming for the beginning of November as CDC orders allow.

Fain said he thinks the cruise line is “in sight of the downward slope” of the COVID-19 troubles that have struck his industry.

“The goal… continues to be to develop procedures and protocols that mean you will be safer on a cruise ship than in your home town, while still feeling like you’re on a vacation. We are increasingly optimistic that we will succeed in that goal,” said Fain.

“Our measured approach to a healthy return to service has allowed us to plan for a measured return when the science allows, rather than the approach of trying to restart in the face of yesterday’s news. 

“We are in sight of the downward slope. Like everything about this disease it’s a rocky slope.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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