“The cruise industry is close to devastation. The market capitalization of the three public companies has dropped by nearly $50 billion,” said Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, speaking during a meeting of the Miami-Dade County Tourism and the Ports Committee on Thursday morning.
“We’ve had to raise $20 billion. These were investment grade companies whose balance sheets have been greatly diminished. We should not take for granted because we’re here today we’ll always be here; we have to get back to work.
“All we are asking for is the opportunity to demonstrate that we take this very, very seriously. Health and safety are buzz words we hear every day but that has been the backbone of our industry forever.”
“Enough is enough,” Del Rio continued. “It’s been more than six months. We as an industry, we as society, have learned a lot on how to live alongside COVID.”
Del Rio said the company’s Healthy Sail Panel in collaboration with Royal Caribbean Group was a week to 10 days away from submitting its plan.
“It will be safe to cruise from America,” he noted.
“We are effecting the 1,000s of employees and their families and their children,” Del Rio continued. “Yet we see airlines flying. I want someone to tell me how it’s possible how COVID-19 transmission doesn’t occur on airplanes when you’re sitting four inches away from someone in a middle seat, yet it happens on a ship that is nearly 200,000 tons. It is unconscionable what’s happened to the cruise industry. We’ve been quiet for too long.”
Del Rio said being more vocal would educate government officials who may not understand the depth of what the industry is going through.
“We are confident of our protocols. We are confident we can operate safely in this COVID-19 world,” Del Rio added.
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