US cruise restart “happening at lightspeed”, says Fain

Royal Caribbean Group CEO says 95% of Silversea and Celebrity guests will be vaccinated

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has outlined that 95% of guests aboard Silversea and Celebrity Cruises’ restarted operations will be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In his latest industry update from home, Fain – who oversees brands including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity and Silversea – reiterated that it is the company’s intention to vaccinate “100%” of all cruise guests.

Fain said that to date, 16,465 of the company’s own “seafarers” have already been vaccinated.

“Clearly we’re not messing around,” he said in the update. “On top of that, we want all our guests to be vaccinated as well. We want that because we believe it makes us all safer. And we want that because our guests want that.”

Unsurprisingly, he said that the vast majority of those providing feedback on guest surveys “have either already received the vaccination or are about to do so.”

“Ideally, everyone on board would be vaccinated, but in practice, there have to be some exceptions,” he admitted, with children under the age of 12 who are currently unable to have the jab being the exception. That demographic will then be further lowered to kids as young as five, meaning “even fewer exceptions”.

Fain further highlighted that, excluding children, any unvaccinated cruisers will be required to undergo “additional testing and other restrictions” which will add to their cruise cost, while at the same time “adding limitations” on their voyage.

“Our plan, therefore, continues to be that virtually everyone who’s eligible for a vaccine will have one.”

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US cruise restart gains pace

Fain also expressed his optimism as the recommencement of cruise operations in the USA begins to take shape.

“After 15 months of no forward motion, suddenly everything is happening at lightspeed.”

“We are moving forward and cruising is restarting. All the parties seem aligned – cruising needs to restart.”

“The CDC in Atlanta are now constructively dialoguing with us. The Governor and other Florida officials clearly want to welcome the jobs that cruising generates. The Mayors and other officials are eager for our return. Even Congress understands the importance of our industry,” Fain added.

“OMG. Rarely have so many different interests agreed on one thing, and that thing is the importance of the cruise industry restarting in a healthy manner.”

“We are moving inexorably towards the total resumption of cruising in a safe and healthy manner,” he said, noting that there are two underlying matters to restart; 1) that it is safe to do so, and 2) that the experience onboard meets “our exacting expectations”, including guest ratings of the crews, at least equal to what they were pre-pandemic.

Fain also revealed he personally intends to be on one of the inaugural sailings from Miami.

“Taking these inaugural cruises. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make,” he quipped.

Celebrity CruisesRichard FainRoyal Caribbean GroupRoyal Caribbean InternationalSilversea
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