As Covid cases subside, so too might Royal Caribbean's health protocols.
During a call with investors on Friday, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley answered a question about when protocols might go away.
The investor said since there are likely people who do not want to cruise because of testing or mask mandates, so he wanted to know what would be the impetus for Royal Caribbean to roll back those mandates.
Royal Caribbean currently requires a number of health protocols for passengers on its ships, including wearing of face masks while indoors, pre-cruise testing, social distancing and reduced ship capacity.
Mr. Bayley said that the health protocols provided a lot of reassurance during the height of the pandemic, but as countries begin to roll back restrictions, Royal Caribbean will also move towards a "new normal".
"Certainly, we see now with with Omicron that the decrease in positivity is really significant not only in the U.S. and certain states, but also on board of our ships."
As a result of the lower case counts, Mr. Bayley thinks Royal Caribbean will work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to remove protocols.
"We believe that we're going to move into a much more positive environment. I think what we'll see is as we get into that environment, we'll start working with the CDC.
"We'll start removing many of the protocols that exist today, and it'll become easier and simpler for our customers."
Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty said the company's focus remains on keeping guests and crew members safe at all times, "we're following the science, and based off of that, we're making changes to our protocols... to kind of help ensure that our guests and our crew are safe at all times."
Lowering the CDC warning
Mr. Bayley said he felt "quite positive" about the direction of Covid and its impact on cruise ships. In fact, Mr. Bayley indicated he thinks the CDC may change its stance on cruise ships and Covid.
On December 30, 2021, the CDC raised its warning against going on a cruise ship to its highest level, level 4.
The federal agency recommended avoiding cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status.
Mr. Bayley believes that warning will go away in the not too distant future.
"We also believe that in the not too distant future, the CDC Level four will be downgraded to Level three, and I think that will also be another positive step in the right direction."