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(Bloomberg) -- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Frank Del Rio said July sailings from the U.S. are no longer possible, given the time it takes to get a ship ready to sail.

“The July U.S. launch, at least for our company, is just not possible,” Del Rio said, speaking on a quarterly call with analysts.

He didn’t give a specific timeline, but the industry generally has said that it needs 90 days to prepare a ship.

Norwegian shares fell as much as 6.8% to $27.81 in New York trading after the comments. Industry leader Carnival Corp. was down as much as 3.8%, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. shed as much as 4.8%.

Del Rio’s comments come a day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined new rules for returning to the seas.

Speculation had been mounting about a July return after President Joe Biden projected the country could resume a semblance of normalcy by Independence Day. On the back of Biden’s announcement in March, the industry started actively lobbying the U.S. government to roll back restrictions on cruising, which the companies say are the most burdensome on any U.S. tourism business.

Norwegian and its peers have found halting progress in their efforts.

New rules outlined Wednesday create two parallel paths for cruise companies to return to U.S. waters. They can start paying cruises up again with certain limitations, provided 95% of passengers and 98% of crew are vaccinated. If they don’t meet the vaccination requirement, they can run simulated cruises with nonpaying volunteers for each ship in their fleet, essentially proving the safety of their vessels.

100% Vaccination

Del Rio said Norwegian would be opting for the first option, adding that the cruise company would demand 100% vaccination -- even more than the CDC requirement.

But Del Rio said he was disappointed in the rules “at first read” and found them onerous. As an example, Del Rio complained about a guideline that states that while temporary mask removal is acceptable while eating or drinking, facial coverings cannot stay off for “extended meal service or beverage consumption.”

“Nobody should order soup, because your mask might get sloppy,” Del Rio said. “So that to me is just preposterous; it’s not in the spirit of where the country is heading.”

 

Sounds like the CDC is still going to make it miserable to sail from the US for some time to come. If I was going to cruise I would opt for one from a foreign port where maybe the mask wearing nonsense would not be enforced.

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This looks more like saber rattling to me. Anybody find it curious that within days of FdR's announcement that the CDC hadn't responded to his letter, it issued a stripped-down version of its requirements? I think he's hoping his threat to pull ships out of Florida, along with this pronouncement, is intended to induce the CDC to grant him more leverage. We'll see what happens.

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Posted (edited)

I mean, it lines up.  FDR says 90 days to stand up a ship.  Today is May 6th.   Sounds to me like August 4th if they started today.   If they started when the CDC announced the vaccinated can skip the line and resume paying cruises then we are talking about August 1st-ish.

NCL said in the earnings today they WILL DO 100% vaccinated cruises, basically going beyond the CDC mandate.  So there you have it.  Start around August 1st, probably 1 ship out of Miami or Orlando, and 100% vaccinated until the end of October when the CSO ends (as long as they don't extend it).

Actually, if the Florida governor doesn't get his head out of his butt on this vaccine thing, make that Galveston Texas, where they say they can't ask about it, but there is no law or teeth to that statement.

Edited by oteixeira
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10 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

This looks more like saber rattling to me. Anybody find it curious that within days of FdR's announcement that the CDC hadn't responded to his letter, it issued a stripped-down version of its requirements? I think he's hoping his threat to pull ships out of Florida, along with this pronouncement, is intended to induce the CDC to grant him more leverage. We'll see what happens.

 

FDR needs to be careful. I don't think that was a smart comment to make. Bureaucrats have very, very thin skin.

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I suspect the whole mask wearing issue is going to come to an end sometime in July. Most employers are sending out return to office notices that start in the summer. The CDC just put out a graph showing covid dropping to very low levels by summer. By then everyone that wants the vaccine will have had a chance to get it and you will be told masks are no longer needed.

I also think the requirement to be vaccinated to cruise be will dropped by the end of the year. Possibly a little longer if covid remains high worldwide.

States will start to drop the daily reporting of covid deaths and cases as politicians try to push the issue out of the news.

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My thoughts is cruise lines have lots of employees from India.  Is what is going on there hampering getting crews back on ships?

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1 hour ago, dexddd said:

My thoughts is cruise lines have lots of employees from India.  Is what is going on there hampering getting crews back on ships?

My guess is since not all ships are going at once, and the ships really don't need 100% crew for 50% full ships, they can mitigate this outbreak slightly for now.  If it continues to be bad as ships continue to ramp up then I agree it will become a staffing issues for ships.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dexddd said:

My thoughts is cruise lines have lots of employees from India.  Is what is going on there hampering getting crews back on ships?

Good question. From what I’ve been able to read (which isn’t much), at least NCL is not bringing back former employees or recruiting from India.  They’re focused on recruiting in the Pacific and in/around the DR and Haiti.

 

I know there are some vlogs of some cruise crew personnel stating that they were kept on some sort of “payroll” to be at the ready when the startups begin (which is now).  But, I guess they would be more senior crew, who would take more time to train, or have specialized job functions that would be hard to replace.

Edited by graphicguy
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19 hours ago, HaveWeMetYet said:

(Bloomberg) -- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Frank Del Rio said July sailings from the U.S. are no longer possible, given the time it takes to get a ship ready to sail.

“The July U.S. launch, at least for our company, is just not possible,” Del Rio said, speaking on a quarterly call with analysts.

He didn’t give a specific timeline, but the industry generally has said that it needs 90 days to prepare a ship.

Norwegian shares fell as much as 6.8% to $27.81 in New York trading after the comments. Industry leader Carnival Corp. was down as much as 3.8%, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. shed as much as 4.8%.

Del Rio’s comments come a day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined new rules for returning to the seas.

Speculation had been mounting about a July return after President Joe Biden projected the country could resume a semblance of normalcy by Independence Day. On the back of Biden’s announcement in March, the industry started actively lobbying the U.S. government to roll back restrictions on cruising, which the companies say are the most burdensome on any U.S. tourism business.

Norwegian and its peers have found halting progress in their efforts.

New rules outlined Wednesday create two parallel paths for cruise companies to return to U.S. waters. They can start paying cruises up again with certain limitations, provided 95% of passengers and 98% of crew are vaccinated. If they don’t meet the vaccination requirement, they can run simulated cruises with nonpaying volunteers for each ship in their fleet, essentially proving the safety of their vessels.

100% Vaccination

Del Rio said Norwegian would be opting for the first option, adding that the cruise company would demand 100% vaccination -- even more than the CDC requirement.

But Del Rio said he was disappointed in the rules “at first read” and found them onerous. As an example, Del Rio complained about a guideline that states that while temporary mask removal is acceptable while eating or drinking, facial coverings cannot stay off for “extended meal service or beverage consumption.”

“Nobody should order soup, because your mask might get sloppy,” Del Rio said. “So that to me is just preposterous; it’s not in the spirit of where the country is heading.”

 

Sounds like the CDC is still going to make it miserable to sail from the US for some time to come. If I was going to cruise I would opt for one from a foreign port where maybe the mask wearing nonsense would not be enforced.

Thanks for this!

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12 minutes ago, Sweetnspicy said:

I still maintain my “feeling” that NCL will start cruising  out of the US October 2nd or 3rd. 

Of what year, LOL! 🤣

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5 hours ago, Sweetnspicy said:

I still maintain my “feeling” that NCL will start cruising  out of the US October 2nd or 3rd. 

I sure hope you're right!  We're booked on the POA October 2. Another part of the CDC's order is cruise line shore excursions only. I wonder how that would apply to Hawaii...?  Seems silly as we will already have been on Oahu for a week seeing the sights.

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