The Royal Caribbean Group said during a conference call the company plans on requiring coronavirus tests before passengers are permitted to board its ships. According to WESH.com, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley did not specify if the COVID-19 testing would be mandatory for both crew members and passengers, but he did say “it’s very likely that testing will occur.” Bayley’s comments come after MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato revealed his company would require coronavirus tests for every passenger as it prepares to resume limited cruises in the Mediterranean this month aboard MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica, according to Cruise Critic.
Bayley and other Royal Caribbean officials also revealed plans for further health and safety guidelines that would be implemented before sailings are permitted again; including using ultraviolet light to kill germs and modifying ships to promote social distancing.
Last week, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced that its ocean-going cruise line members have agreed to voluntarily suspend U.S. cruise operations until at least October 31.
Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean revealed it would consider selling or retiring some of its ships while delaying the delivery of newbuilds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have three ships currently in the scrapping process,” Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty said.
Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain says the company has been “humbled and surprised” by the number of bookings it has received for 2021 sailings. When discussing second-quarter 2020 earnings, CFO Jason Liberty said the following about the second quarter of 2021:
“There is high demand, and our consumers are willing to pay at or above historical levels.”
In a statement, the company said pricing for 2021 bookings is relatively flat. That is when including the negative yield impact of bookings made with future cruise credits; it is slightly up year-over-year when excluding them.
Although the CDC has issued a no-sail order for cruise ships operating in U.S. waters, the order was extended through to September 30, 2020. Nevertheless, cruise tourism is listed as the last phase in Belize’s reopening plan for travel. Belize is currently in Phase 2, with on-going repatriation of Belizean citizens and residents. The reopening of Belize’s international airport marked Phase 3, previously planned for August 15, has been postponed, announced August 5, 2020.