People are still anxious to cruise and cruising is still the best vacation experience and the best value
Carnival CEO Arnold Donald was his usual straight-talking self and surprisingly upbeat given the state of the cruise industry and in particular the rough seas his company has navigated over the past couple of months as he gave a media blitz this week, speaking to Liz Claman on Fox Business and to Yahoo Finance.
“Eventually I think the cruise industry will be as robust as ever and be back on the road forward once society adapts to COVID-19,” Donald said, admitting that he had been “fighting for the survival of the company.”
However, Donald said he did not expect the industry to just pick up and resume business as usual.
“There won’t be some light switch. Every destination won’t open simultaneously,” he said. Every world market is not going to have the same protocols. That’s not going to happen. It kind of shutdown gradually as the virus moved from East to West and I suspect it will open gradually as different jurisdictions and destinations determine their own way forward concerning public health.”
Donald knows all about the move from East to West. Princess Cruises, one of the 10 brands operated by Carnival Corporation, was the hardest hit in the cruise industry with its Diamond Princess liner quarantined in Yokohama Japan and eventually suffering 13 deaths and over 700 confirmed infections of coronavirus. The Grand Princess meanwhile suffered an outbreak off the coast of California.
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Carnival CEO reports that strict protocols were already in place
After having raised a total of $6.4 billion in liquidity and bringing on board Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth, which has taken an 8% stake in the company, Donald told Yahoo Finance he is confident the company can go through the fiscal year and perhaps even beyond even with zero revenues due to the currently in place CDC no-sail order and still weather the storm.
As to when that storm will end, Donald told Fox Business that “we know that day is coming. We just don’t know exactly when.”
While many industry experts have said they expect sweeping changes when cruises do resume, Donald noted that strict protocols were already in place.
“We already had a medical record screening,” Donald told Claman. “We already had temperature scanning. We already had the hand sanitizers throughout the ship. We already had signs everywhere about washing your hands. And we have a medical facility on board. And those things existed previously because we sail around the world.”
Carnival CEO said however that whatever new protocols for COVID-19 are determined, Carnival will adopt.
On a positive note, he concluded: “We are looking forward to sailing again, we know people are anxious for that and cruising is still the best vacation experience and the best vacation value there is. We look forward to sailing soon.”
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