Carnival could return to the US by the end of the year, said Arnold Donald, the company’s CEO and president. Speaking to investors, Donald, whose brand oversees Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, and Princess Cruises, admitted the industry, despite being under a No Sail Order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since March, may have overturned it will be the new year.
“At this point we have every reason to be optimistic that we’ll be sailing in the US before the end of the year,” said Donald. “We have several test schemes that are becoming more and more available. … Science begins to align. “
The restriction was originally supposed to be lifted in September, but has been extended to the end of October and could likely continue until federal agencies believe it’s safe for guests.
The test program of the Carnival for guests that would look for travelers is still unknown. In late September, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean told the CDC that the best way to get back in the water would be to rigorously test guests and crew, as detailed in a 66-page report.
Carnival admitted that with “virtually no marketing” more travelers are getting refunds for “future cruise credits”. A total of 45% received credits, 55% requested a refund.
On balance, Carnival has raised $ 12.5 billion since March, but is expected to burn about $ 650 million a month in the second half of 2020. Bookings for the first half of 2021 are said to be at the “upper end” of Carnival’s “historical” range, ”although on average at a cheaper price. The carnival declined to include certain numbers in the report.
While the pandemic has wreaked havoc, the brands are in a unique position to come back before the rest of the travel ecosystem, as cruises make almost all of their money on vacation travel – even when capacity is reduced.
“Since our industry does not rely on business travel, we believe that we will benefit disproportionately from the pent-up demand,” said Donald. “Vacationers tend to overcome these challenges.”