Carnival Corporation is likely to make a full return to cruising by the end of this year, or early next year at the latest the cruise operator’s CEO, Arnold Donald, said in an interview this week.
“What I will predict is this: I think that certainly by the end of this year, most, if not all, of our fleet, I’m optimistic, will be in action. I think there’s a really high probability that all of them will be back by early next year if things continue to progress the way they have,” Donald said in a webcast with Travel Leaders Group.
Donal said he was buoyed by the vaccine roll out, mass testing and improved treatments for COVID-19.
“The combination of all that bodes really well and puts us in a good position,” Donald said. “The conversation is changing. The knowledge about COVID has changed. The ability to manage COVID has changed. All these things have moved in a positive direction. It’s a bad storm that the world finds itself in, but we will weather this storm, and that’s the trick. We just have to weather it and come out on the other end and hope for those bright cheery days that we’re all looking for.”
Carnival units AIDA and Costa already planning return
CEO Arnold Donald noted that two Carnival brands, AIDA Cruises in Germany and Costa Cruises in Italy are planning to resume sailing next month and had previously successfully sailed prior to the vaccine rollout in Europe.
“We are sailing, successfully now, without vaccines, on a very limited basis in Germany and Italy with cruises on our AIDA and Costa brands, and other companies are sailing as well, with guests very pleased.”
While some cruise companies have mandated vaccinations for passengers, Donald said Carnival was not planning to do so for the moment. “I won’t jump the gun now and say it’ll be mandated but what I will say is, look, this is in everyone’s best interests to get everyone vaccinated.”
CEO Arnold Donald : We’ve taken out 19 ships during this time
So I won’t jump the gun now and say it’ll be mandated but what I will say is, look, this is in everyone’s best interests to get every“Unfortunately, when we do restart as an industry and as a company, it’s not going to be a light switch,” he said. “It’s a gradual introduction, a laddered introduction of ships, and that’ll be just by necessity because all the destinations aren’t going to open simultaneously all at once; they all have all different regulations and such. So, we will see a period of demand probably far exceeding supply.”
“The reality is we don’t have a crisis of demand in cruise,” he said. “We’re not going to need to expand the market right away, simply because we’re going to have less capacity. We’ve taken out 19 ships during this time. When we come back, even with a full fleet, we’re going to have less capacity, and it’s going to be staggered to begin with.”