As it approaches the one-year anniversary of the industry-wide shutdown, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy provided an update on where things stand at the cruise line.
Duffy touted vaccines as a critical component in getting the industry sailings once again and with inoculation campaigns in progress worldwide, it brings the industry one step closer to resuming operations. In the meantime, she says Carnival continues to plan for the future and deal with the extended industry pause.
CCL has cancelled all US sailings through MAY and “at least until the end of JUN” in Australia, Duffy noted. Further, new dates have been established for eight ships going into dry dock and as a result, their return is delayed until the second half of 2021.
“We know how frustrating this situation is for everyone who is part of the extended Carnival family,” Duffy said, adding that 16 of the fleet’s ships remain in U.S. waters following the CDC requirements “so that we will be ready to get back to cruising just as soon as we are able to.”
On the financial front, she noted that Carnival Cruise Line parent company, Carnival Corp., “continues to be a financially sound company in spite of this extended pause. We entered this situation with a very strong balance sheet which allowed us to raise additional capital and financing to get us through this pause and maintain our position as a leader in the global cruise industry. ”
Duffy noted that Carnival’s newest ship (and the first one with a roller coaster at sea), Mardi Gras, would be “arriving in the U.S. soon.” She also pointed out that the company recently broke ground on Carnival Cruise Line’s new terminal in PortMiami. Mardi Gras sister ship, Carnival Celebration, will homeport there in 2022.
“I wish I had more specific information to share, especially a firm start date and what the protocols will be and specifically whether a vaccine will be mandated or required for guests and crew. However, we don’t have those answers at this time,” Duffy said.
Instead, she pledged the company will keep travel advisors and consumers informed, and thanked them for their continued support.
Ending on a positive note, Duffy said bookings for 2022 and beyond “are very solid and demonstrate the pent up demand we know is out there for cruising again.”
“We’ve remained very confident about our future. As we like to say here,” she concluded, “We are Carnival, and we will be back.”