Cruise ships can be safer than anywhere else, argues Del Rio
As the hospitality industry seeks to rebuild trust among travellers, a cruise ship can be “safer than anywhere else in the world” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has argued.
Addressing the Re-Engineering Readiness conference earlier, the cruise chief argued the self-contained environment onboard a vessel made it perfect to implement strict hygiene protocols.
“The cruise industry at large is developing protocols; we have hired experts to help us to develop these from A-Z.
“There will be different layers of health and safety protocols onboard ships.
“Once we get past the government obstacles to cruising, the real work begins – and that is to regain the trust of the public.
“We believe the cruise sector can be a leader here, the controlled environment on a ship can be safer than anywhere else in the world.”
Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings recently extended the suspension of all sailings until at least July 31st.
The cruise sector more generally has been hard hit by the coronavirus, with several ships being hit by widespread outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Del Rio added: “The scenario now is that we need to gain momentum; we were running at 100 miles per hour and then we were shut down.
“This will start with governments living travel bands, opening ports – the consumer will be there.
“People are rushing to bars and restaurants as they reopen, they want to get back to their normal lives, and cruising is a part of their normal lives.”
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings currently operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.
With a combined fleet of 28 ships with approximately 59,150 berths, these brands offer itineraries to more than 490 destinations worldwide.
The company will introduce nine additional ships through 2027.
In his remarks, Del Rio also called on governments to move from a blanket ban on travel toward more targeted restrictions.
“I have great confidence we will learn to control this in the short-term, and in the medium-term there will be a vaccine or a therapy, or a combination of both.
“We have been dealing with this situation for around 90-days, and it takes around this long to mobilise a society to change, and to cope in such a civilised way.
“But reality is now setting in; the general strokes painted by authority have to stop.
“Great harm has been done on a permanent basis to economies, and that has to stop immediately.
“We have been pioneers in resilience – we are an island at sea and have to make do with what we have.
“The growth we have seen in the cruise sector over the last 20 years, we will see over the next ten years.
“The strong cruse companies will continue to thrive and survive.”