Royal Caribbean CEO explains why cruise line hasn’t yet released anti-COVID protocols

Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises took to YouTube Tuesday to explain why the world’s second-largest cruise company, unlike many other businesses, has not publicly released new operating protocols to protect guests from Coronavirus.

In a nutshell, Fain explained that it was because Royal Caribbean Cruises, unlike those other businesses, remains at an operational standstill, without any of its cruise ships carrying passengers. This gives it the time to develop and test the best protocols going forward.

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“We have the luxury of time to develop and to refine our ideas,” said Fain. “Stay tuned. We will soon be talking more about our way forward.”

He insisted that while Royal Caribbean is as eager as the rest of the industry to get back to sea, it will not until do so until it can provide proper safeguards for guests and crew.

Royal Caribbean Cruises is the parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, SilverseaAzamara, Pullmantur Cruises and TUI Cruises.

“I know that every day you are receiving messages from airlines, car companies, delivery services, car services and so on, telling you of their enhanced protocols to protect against COVID-19,” he said.

“Many of you have asked me why the cruise industry isn’t doing the same, after all you say the cruise industry has a history of much stronger hygiene requirements than any of these other industries, why aren’twe touting our procedures?”

Fain said the company is instead focusing on putting together “a blue-ribbon group of experts to advise us and to help us chart the absolutely best course”.

He added that when Royal Caribbean does share its new protocols, he’s confident the travel community “will say that we have used our time wisely.”

However, in other parts of the video, Fain’s comments on the progress being made in the fight against Coronavirus provide a hint as to some of the measures Royal Caribbean might be planning to deploy, such as the use of contact tracing and rapid testing.

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“Some encouraging signs are emerging in this terrible situation, we’re not out of the woods yet but somedays you can really see the clearing ahead,” Fain said, pointing out the significant increase in testing capacities, better contact-tracing, and a growing capacity to fight the virus.

“[This] offers real hope of changing the risk of a second wave…on top of that our medical professionals arereally getting better at treating the disease,” he said, adding that the CDC this week estimated that thefatality rate for people who have COVID-19 and show symptoms is 0.4%.

With further advances in ways of treating COVID-19 patients, that figure could be brought down even more.

“While we’d like it to be at zero, a figure of 0.3 percent would make the fatality rate quite close to the rate for the common seasonal flu, so what does this mean for the travel and tourism industry?” he said, referring to an estimate released by the CDC.

Fain also extended his thoughts and sympathies to those who have suffered loss due to the virus, as well as those who have been indirectly affected, through job losses or unpaid leave, due to the shutdown of the global economy.

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