Royal Caribbean CEO Sees A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean International’s senior vice president-sales and trade support & service, sent an email to travel partners with yet another upbeat video message from Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

“As this virus continues to throw all of us for a loop, the good news is that we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Freed wrote. “We’re stronger than this virus and now it’s time to emerge gradually, thoughtfully and preparedly.”

Fain started by outlining the encouraging news in the COVID-19 pandemic as the U.S. and other nations start to reopen.

“We’re all anxious to get back to operating our cruises and returning, but we will not do so until we are confident that we can do so properly and with appropriate safeguards for our guests and our crew,” he said. “To that end, we’re working on a detailed set of protocols and procedures that can give us and your clients that level of confidence.”

Fain said travel partners are undoubtedly seeing messages from airlines, car companies, etc., on new sanitation and health protocols. He said he’s been questioned why the cruise industry hasn’t yet publicized its enhanced protocols.

“Many of you have asked me why the cruise industry isn’t doing the same. After all, you say, the cruise industry has a history of much stronger hygiene requirements than any of these other industries. Why aren’t we touting our procedures now? The reason is simple,” Fain said. “Unlike them, we aren’t operating today and therefore we have the luxury of time to develop and to refine our ideas. We have the time to put together a blue-ribbon group of experts to advise us and to help us chart the absolutely best course. So, stay tuned, we will soon be talking more about our way forward and when we do, I believe – in fact I’m confident – that you will say that we have used our time wisely.”

He then credited professional travel advisors, who are showing their support and determination to help the cruise industry rebound.

“I had one clear and I thought very encouraging indication of that the other day. Vicki Freed and Dondra Ritzenthaler (Freed’s counterpart at sister company Celebrity Cruises) both hold regular sessions with travel agents. Last week, I was a guest on the Coffee Talk with Vicki Freed call,” Fain said. “It was an interesting call, but I was amazed to learn that 5,600 travel advisers participated. Fifty-six-hundred travel advisers took the time and the trouble to participate in this session to better prepare themselves for selling cruises. Fifty-six-hundred – that speaks volumes about your determination to defeat this disease and to sell more cruises. With that kind of focus I feel totally confident about our ability to come back strong.”

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