Carnival Corporation chief executive, Arnold Donald, has said the cruise sector could return to the United States in as little as 30 days should the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) lift a ‘no sail’ order at the end of the month.
All activity is effectively banned at ports across the country until October 31st, with the sector awaiting a decision on the future of the restrictions.
However, Donald said he was taking nothing for granted.
“We are hopeful the CDC will lift the ‘no sail’ order on November 1st – given the measures we have put in place and the modest restart we have seen in Europe.
“In terms of readiness, we are working with the interest parties to get ready.
“The destinations have their own governing bodies, and it will take time to partner up with those in order for us to return.
“It will take 30-to-60 days to prepare to effectively sail out of the United States, depending on which protocols are selected by the CDC.”
There has been some modest return to operation in Europe, with Carnival-owned Costa welcoming guests in Italy.
The situation in the United States is more complex, with the CDC seeking further assurances from the cruise sector that it can guarantee the safety of passengers.
“The science is beginning to align – it has become obvious that if you want to minimise the spread you have to control the environment, and this means no shore excursions for the time being,” explained Arnold.
“But we have to keep the essence of cruising – the sector is elective, nobody has to be on a cruise ships, as opposed to a hotel.
“From the early sailings, we hear guests are having a great experience, and this is positive to see.
“We are working on how to create distancing without compromising the human connection – this means adding new shows to the theatre, adding some private dining and everything we can do.”
He added: “It is going to be a slow and staggered restart – everybody is going to have their own spin on reopening.
“There are going to be twists and we will have to manage through – over time we will defeat this.”
Carnival Corporation has been losing around $700 million a month over the course of the pandemic to date.
However, the company is positioned to survive until a reopening, Arnold