The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is allowing cruise ships to resume operations this summer, but Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio says that will be unlikely given the agency’s tough requirements.
“I seriously doubt we will be able to stand up a vessel out of a U.S. port in July. August is also in jeopardy and it’s all because of the disjointed guidelines from the CDC,” Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio said on CNBC’s Closing Bell. “What we received yesterday was anything but a clear path to restarting.”
The company announced international cruises will resume in July from Greece, Spain, Italy, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
The CDC issued technical guidance for the cruise industry last week and announced it was committed to allowing the industry to resume operations by mid-summer.
Del Rio claimed the requirements put on the cruise industry are tougher than those for any other industry.
“The unfair treatment that the industry has had to endure for over a year continues. It’s got to stop, it’s unfair, it’s un-American and certainly in contradiction with the goals set forth by President [Joe] Biden,” said Del Rio.
The CDC issued guidelines to start simulated trips and apply for Covid-19 conditional sailing certificates with restricted passenger voyages.
“We have never seen this level of demand in the history of the company,” said Del Rio. “Not only do we have more bookings by a substantial amount for 2022 at this point, but they’re at hire prices.”
The company said the time it needs to prepare its ships will delay the restart of cruises.
“We are going to vaccinate 100% of everyone onboard our vessel. We are dumbfounded, quite frankly, as to why the CDC continues to put forth onerous requirements on our industry,” Del Rio said.
The company’s stock closed down 6.8% Tuesday after Norwegian reported lower-than-expected quarterly losses and missed revenue expectations before the bell. Shares were up less than 1% in extending trading.