For the past few months, Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line
Holdings (NCLH) has been saying that the company's Covid-19 vaccine
mandate for 100% of its passengers is a competitive edge.
a conversation with Travel Weekly’s editor-in-chief Arnie Weissmann on
stage at CruiseWorld 2021 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 12 November,
Del Rio said he has the numbers to back it up.
Weissmann asked whether consumer surveys show that people want to sail on vaccinated cruises.
Del Rio responded, "The best consumer survey is facts, and the fact
is we — and when I say we, I mean all three brands (Norwegian Cruise
Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises) — are better booked
for the second half of 2022 and throughout 2023 by a wide, wide margin
and at much higher prices than at any time in 2019 or 2020 before the
pandemic hit. "That is proof positive that having a 100% vaccination
mandate for our vessels is a competitive advantage."
that the vaccine is far from universally accepted throughout the US,
Del Rio said, "While you can't please 100% of the people 100% of the
time, in this environment, the vast majority of our target market wants
to be around people who are vaccinated."
NCLH fights for rights to request proof of vaccination
Weissmann and Del Rio also talked about the ongoing court battle
between NCLH and the state of Florida. In August, Florida Governor Ron
DeSantis' office said it would appeal a federal judge's ruling allowing
NCLH to require proof of vaccination to sail from Florida.
Rio believes that a district court of appeals won't hear the case until
sometime next summer. "Hopefully, it becomes a moot point by that time
because we'll have the pandemic behind us, but it might not be. This
pandemic, as you know, has thrown us several curveballs."
When asked if NCLH would appeal a Florida court victory, Del Rio
responded, to applause from the travel advisors in the audience, "We
will protect the health and safety of our guests and our crew. If that
means we have to continue a legal fight to protect our guests, we will".
Source: Travel Weekly