Having sailed with half a million guests over the last couple of months, the Royal Caribbean group is well underway to get back to normal. Yet with the constant changes happening, it also seems that normal is still a long way away.
Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain goes into detail in a recent video update and discusses why the group has decided to go operational with a majority of the fleet, at a pace unmatched by any other company.
Protocol changes, rule changes, and operational changes have all been expected by the company, which hopes to have all the creases ironed out soon, but the focus has been firmly put towards 2022 when a more stable cruise experience is expected for guests, and the cruise companies themselves.
You can watch the update from Fain below:
As 2021 Ends, Focus Switches to 2022
While 2021 is certainly not a lost year, Royal Caribbean believes shifting focus to 2022 will benefit the company more than trying to save 2021. The Royal Caribbean ships that are operational are sailing with reduced numbers, which means the company is taking considerable financial hits in the short term in one way or another. But the reasoning for this is simple, firstly allowing the ships to operate safely, secondly it factors in the lack of international travel:
Richard D. Fain, Chairman, and CEO for Royal Caribbean, said this:
“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 22 and 23. Even if that means accepting short-term hits this year, you all know that we’re sailing with significantly reduced load factors in 2021, for several reasons. Firstly, we wanted to be extra cautious during our startup. We also have felt the impact of air travel restrictions, especially between countries, because so much of our business relies on international travel and we made a deliberate decision to get more ships operating sooner.”
The upcoming wave period, generally between January and March, when the cruise lines have their best promotions and bookings are highest, is one of the most important upcoming factors for Royal Caribbean. It is why the company is now shifting focus, ensuring each vessel is operating in as stable as possible fashion while ensuring the guests do not have to suffer through the constant changes anymore:
“Even when that means each ship operates at a very low occupancy for a few months, we have two overriding goals. Firstly, key to our success in 2022 will be the wave season. And to have a good wave, we need to show that we go into wave with a solid and stable operation. That means by December we want stability, none of the confusion and endless changes that we have been experiencing.”
Are the Royal Caribbean Ships the Safest Place to Be?
One of the biggest goals Royal Caribbean has set for itself is proving to the general public that sailing onboard one of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, or Silversea ships is as safe as can be and is in fact safer than Main Street USA. In many ways, the company has achieved just that, most of all through the impressive numbers it can produce.
Since the main restart of operations, the company has sailed with more than half a million guests onboard its ships. Onboard those ships, there have only been 141 cases. The strict protocols the cruise lines have implemented onboard show that cruising is one of the safest activities that guests can do.
By the end of November, Richard D. Fain predicts his company will have sailed with more than a million guests, hopefully, all without significant issues:
“There are very few places on earth that can Institute the protective protocols that the cruise industry can have. As a result, we believe that our industry, all of them including the Royal Caribbean group, as well as those other companies I hope you’re ignoring. We are all seeing and we’ll continue to see a terrific track record during this period.”
Although the Delta variant is still causing issues for the industry, the outlook for 2022 is indeed positive. As Richard D. Fain says in his video message, the darkest days are behind us, and we can all look forward to a bright future full of great cruises.