Cruises May Be Ready For Comeback, Royal Caribbean Chief Says

Cruises May Be Ready For Comeback, Royal Caribbean Chief Says

Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said he has seen a number of signs that the cruise industry could recover from its pandemic-related economic strife, CNBC reported.

Fain told CNBC that he has seen older people signing up for cruises more readily than the company had expected.

“We really thought older people would be more cautious,” he said, per CNBC. “Turns out, they want to get out of the house, too.”

He added that the fact that older people have been able to get COVID-19 vaccines has likely contributed to their new willingness to leave the house more often, CNBC reported.

He said several guests signing up were first timers to cruise ships, which ran contrary to what Royal Caribbean had expected, which was that most people signing up would be veterans looking to go back to what they knew, according to CNBC.

Fain told CNBC he thought there could be “serious conversations” about continuing U.S. cruise ship trips if COVID-19 cases in the country continue to fall.

Royal began operating in Singapore in December, CNBC reported, a break in the trend of the past year in which cruise ships have largely been dormant due to the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean reported a net loss of almost $5.8 billion last year on total revenues of $2.2 billion. Over the course of last year, the company also raised $9.3 billion in new capital, including debt offerings and a $1 billion stock sale in December, CNBC reported. And the company announced last month it was selling its Azamara brand for $201 million to private equity firms Sycamore Partners.

Travel industries of various types have been pondering how to return, with Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian speculating that the vaccine progress could mean a brighter future ahead for travel, and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky saying he thinks Americans are more than ready to begin traveling like before the pandemic.

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