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Royal Caribbean Group CEO talks how cruise industry can overcome Delta variant threat

27 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain talked about the threat the Delta variant poses to the cruise industry, but also what can be done to combat its effects.

Mr. Fain started off his latest video update with the admission that the Delta variant hit the cruise industry hard, and right at the time it looked like things were going to quickly move back to normal.

"It was only a few weeks ago that we all thought that the virus was getting under control and life was gradually returning to normal. Unfortunately, the Delta variant upset all our plans."

Mr. Fain said the Delta variant has hurt cruise bookings, but has not destroyed the forward progress the cruise industry is making to get back into operations.

Mr. Fain sees a parallel between what is happening right now with the Delta variant and an important World War 2 battle, the Battle of the Bulge.

He sees the Delta variant as a sudden fight back in an enemy we had considered defeated, similar to how the Battle of the Bulge was the last offensive by the German army in the war at a time the Allies thought victory was close at hand.

"Like world war two, we're fighting a powerful and determined enemy. It's a hard battle and fighting. It is costing us heavily in casualties and in money. But it's a battle we simply can't afford to lose."

"We have no choice but to do what it takes to defeat this insidious disease. I hope and I trust that America will once again stand up and be counted."

Mr. Fain also said just like in the war, by Americans working together can the virus be defeated.

"Not only the soldiers in the field, but the entire country was united in a common goal, defeating the enemy and ending the war."

In his eyes, Mr. Fain sees two important lessons that the Battle of the Bulge taught us, "First, and I think most importantly, America can do amazing things when we work together."

"The second important similarity to the Battle of the Bulge is the ultimate outcome is clear and it's inevitable."

The way Mr. Fain sees things, the Delta variant is "a big bump in the road", but he sees a clear path forward.

"Cases are up, but that will soon peak. Hospitalizations and fatalities are up by a much lesser degree, and then mostly amongst those who have made a voluntary choice to refuse the vaccine."

"We are definitely not where we hope to be. We have taken one step back after taking two steps forward. Fortunately, more forward steps are coming."

Mr. Fain also celebrated the fact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine, and the fact he believes in a few months vaccines will be available for children as young as five years old.

"The end of this battle is in sight. But we can't let down our guard," he said right before making the bold statement, "Please wash your hands, and dammit, get vaccinated."

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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