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Royal Caribbean's CEO Says the CDC Is Talking Constructively With Cruise Lines

By Rhian Hunt - Apr 20, 2021 at 5:31PM

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A return to service is being discussed 10 days after the Florida lawsuit against the CDC.

As the weather continues to warm and the summer cruise season approaches rapidly, the CEO of Royal Caribbean (RCL -7.19%), Richard Fain, released a video statement about cruise-industry negotiations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the end of the no-sail order. Cruise Industry News cites Fain's observation that 400,000 individuals have gone on cruises in 30 different countries where governments have approved a restart of the popular oceanic getaways, making Fain "optimistic that the CDC will too."

Fain went on to remark "the CDC is engaging in a constructive dialogue with us in the industry to enable a return to service in a safe and healthy manner," a change from the government agency's previous determination to nix cruises until November. Now, according to Fain's video commentary on Royal Caribbean's YouTube channel, "the CDC has publicly stated that this could enable cruising to restart as early as mid-July."

A cruise ship sailing over a greenish sea under a partly cloudy sky.

Image source: Getty Images.

Fain ascribes the change to the emergence of high-quality data about successful cruise-safety methods, along with the input of numerous small business owners asking for a cruising restart similar to that allowed in other sectors. Though the executive didn't mention it, a lawsuit by the state of Florida launched on April 9 might also be a contributing factor.

The suit alleged the cruise industry was singled out and subjected to an arbitrary, ongoing shutdown unlike most other business sectors. CBS Miami reported Governor Ron DeSantis expressing strong doubt the government has the authority to "mothball a major industry for over a year based on very little evidence."

Fain stressed the decision would ultimately be up to the CDC but noted summer cruises to Alaska and other destinations are looking increasingly likely in his opinion.

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