In keeping with the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, your entire fleet will likely be in the marketplace by April
The cruise ship Norwegian Dawn will dock in the French Mediterranean port of Marseille on July 27, 2021.
Gerard Bottino | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images
Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines, said Tuesday that its entire fleet of 28 ships will be available by the 1st through the end of the year.
Norwegian currently has eight ships of all three cruise brands in service, and everyone on board must demonstrate full vaccination prior to sailing.
“If anything, the world will open up, more people will be vaccinated,” Del Rio told CNBC’s Closing Bell. “The pent-up demand is still very, very strong for the trips that we have operated up to now.”
The company currently requires all passengers and crew to be vaccinated before boarding and allows unvaccinated children who are not yet eligible for the shots to sail, he said.
People under the age of 12 are not yet allowed to get their Covid vaccinations, but Pfizer submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration last month in hopes of obtaining emergency clearance to give vaccines to 5-11 year olds. If approved, fully vaccinated children in this age group would be allowed to travel to Del Rio.
The FDA will review Pfizer’s findings at a meeting on October 26, and vaccines could be rolled out to 5-11 year olds as early as Halloween.
“Are we missing some customers? Possibly,” said Del Rio of the vaccine mandate. “But today we believe our mandate is a competitive advantage.”
The Miami-based Norwegian argued with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this summer over the state’s law prohibiting companies from requesting proof of vaccination from customers. Norwegian said Aug. 8 that a federal judge had issued an injunction to maintain evidence of the company’s vaccination requirements.
Despite the cruise line’s strict vaccination protocols, Del Rio said Covid booster vaccinations are not yet required for passengers and employees. However, he said Norwegian could either prescribe boosters if the pandemic worsens or adjust the company’s existing vaccine guidelines as the pandemic wears off and immunize more people against the virus.
“I got the booster two weeks ago because I qualified,” said Del Rio. “When the time is right and the pandemic continues to threaten humanity, we need to take that into account.”