Just 10 cruise passengers from more than 100,000 have tested positive for the coronavirus on Royal Caribbean Group ships since the company resumed sailing in parts of the world during the pandemic, the company’s Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has revealed.
In a video to travel advisors, Fain said the number – that equates to about 0.01 percent of those who have sailed on some 150 voyages to date – underlined Royal Caribbean Group’s objective to limit infections.
Royal Caribbean Group’s three core cruise brands (Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea) have continued to suspend almost all operations due to the pandemic for the past year, with the exception of RCI’s Quantum of the Seas’ deployment out of Singapore since December, offering a series of 3- and 4-night sailings. To date, Quantum of the Seas has carried around 40,000 guests on these sailings.
The Group’s upmarket German subsidiary, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, also recommenced sailing at the end of July 2020 through until December, operating under its own 10-point health plan.
Fain said the limited coronavirus cases have all “been handled smoothly and without undue disruption on other guests cruising, and without undue burden on the communities and the governments involved”.
“This is really our objective. Fewer infections – and certainly lower than would be expected in the surrounding community – all handled smoothly, without ruining everybody’s vacation, protection of guests and the surrounding community from a big spread of the virus.”
“Our experience with these 100,000 guests is a very powerful proof of concept,” Fain said.
He noted that the cruise industry as a whole had carried more than 350,000 passengers “with very few cases and minimal disruption”.
Fain said the results were conclusive that new health and safety measures adopted by the group proved the “process works” and has enabled the Group to restart cruises in “more and more places”.
Those locations include Israel and parts of the Caribbean, with Fain adding other cruise lines have recently announced plans for “the UK and elsewhere”.
“It all reinforces the view that there’s an enormous amount of pent-up demand, eager to cruise again”.
Cruise passenger ratings are also seven points higher than pre-pandemic periods, Fain revealed.
“Clearly our guests are loving the experience.”
Further, Fain spoke of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) conditional ‘No Sail Order’ implemented in October 2020, saying that now with the rollout of vaccines globally the group expects the authority will “adjust to the changes that are taking place today”.
“Everybody knows that the vaccines are a game-changer. They’ve worked beautifully and I call them the ultimate weapons. The evidence is that they work even better than most experts had hoped, but they’re not the only protection.”
“The conditional sail order was a very positive step, at the time, but that time has passed. We look forward to constructive dialogue with health officials in the United States and elsewhere for the path forward under these new circumstances”.
Concluding his 9-minute video, Fain encouraged everyone to get the COVID vaccine, follow the CDC’s advice, and by doing so “we can be sailing in time to meet President Biden’s goal of reopening society in time for the 4th of July.”
To view the full video, click here.
Lead image: Richard Fain during his latest YouTube video update.