In a new video posted to YouTube, the CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Richard Fain, says he doesn’t like the idea of a “new normal” in cruising and won’t be adopting it for the cruise line.
Talking about the reopening of the Royal Caribbean offices near Port Miami “gradually and safely”, Fain says that the cruise company, like wider society is moving from one chapter in the fallout from the virus to the next.
“Now some people are beginning to talk about the next chapter as the new normal, that’s a term that I’ve begun to hate,” he says, explaining that it was first coined back in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.
“It was a term used to convey the expectation that 9/11 had caused huge changes in society of a fundamental nature, and in that sense it served its purpose,” he adds. “But I believe that the term no longer serves that purpose today. People use the term to simply describe that there will be a change without any sense of scale or definition.”
In particular, Fain says that the real problem with the term in relation to the cruise industry is that the cruise sector has not experienced a semi-permanent normal for the past ten years or so, due to rapid technological advances.
“At Royal Caribbean, our guiding mantra has always been continuous improvement. There won’t be a new normal for selling cruises or taking cruises,” he says.
“Some suggest that cruising in the future will be unrecognizable from what we are used to, that we will go from one constant unchanging cruise experience before to a radically different totally changed cruise experience after. That’s just not true.”
“Royal Caribbean has always balanced constancy with change. Our product evolves constantly to stay ahead of the curve and you can see this by comparing the cruise experience of today with that ten or even five years ago,” he adds.
This has been done by following a ratio of 33% evolution, 33% revolution and 33% tradition in the design of every one of Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ships, according to Fain.
“That’s worked well for us, and it’ll work well in a post-COVID world too,” he says. “We’re in no rush to return to service until we feel confident that we’ve figured out the changes that we must make to offer guests and crew the safest and most enjoyable experience we can.”
“The key there is that we understand it must be a safe cruise, but has to also be a wonderful cruise, and wonderful cruises aren’t a ‘new normal’, they’re what we’ve been doing for the last 50 years,” he adds.