Royal Caribbean has revealed the number of passengers that have caught COVID-19 aboard its cruise ships since it resumed operations earlier this year.
In a video released by the cruise line, Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, said 141 passengers had caught COVID-19, out of more than 500,000 that had undertaken cruises thus far.
Royal Caribbean Cruises is the parent company of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, as well as a joint-venture partner with TUI in TUI Cruises in Germany.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Fain meant Royal Caribbean International specifically had seen 141 cases, or the wider group, but the number tracks with Cruise Arabia & Africa’s monitoring of passenger infections for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and TUI.
“We wanted to show in a tangible way how safe and healthy cruising is. We’re doing that today – not by theory, not by prediction, but by actual operations … We’ve carried over half a million guests and only have 141 cases amongst those 500,000 people,” Fain said in his latest video address.
“We have always said that there will be cases aboard the ships, just as there are cases onshore. But because of our protocols, there haven’t been any big outbreaks, and the few cases we have seen have been managed quickly and effectively,” he added.
Royal Caribbean Cruises now has two thirds of its total fleet back in service and has an optimistic outlook for the future of cruising, according to Fain.
“We are all seeing, and we’ll continue to see, a terrific track record during this period,” he said. “Bookings for 2022 demonstrate that there is pent-up demand … Our focus is, therefore, on 2022, not the remaining months of 2021.”
“Obviously, we don’t like giving up on any period, but we are more determined to do well in 2022 and 2023, even if that means accepting short-term hits this year,” he added.
When it comes to COVID-19 cases onboard, Royal Caribbean has been one of the most forthcoming of all the cruise lines returning to operations. Carnival Cruise Line has typically confirmed cases on its ships, but has refused to state exact numbers.
Back in August, Royal Caribbean International confirmed that there were at least one or two cases of COVID-19 being reported on each of its cruises, representing around 0.2% of passenger load.