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Richard Fain

Royal Caribbean Group CEO gives update on panel of health experts work to start resume cruises

In:
Category: 
23Jul2020

Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain posted a new video update on the 4 month anniversary of when the cruise line suspended sailing due to the current global health crisis.

Mr. Fain began the video update with a look at the current impact of COVID-19 in the United States, citing a growing trend of new cases and consequently, new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread.

He then contrasted this trend with what is happening in Europe and Asia, where things are trending in a very positive manner, and cases are dropping and flare ups are quickly identified.

"As an American, this is incredibly embarrassing. There's simply no excuse for the United States to do worse than almost all the other developed countries in the world. And yet chart after chart shows that's just what's happening."

"In America, we pride ourselves on our individualism. But taken too far, individualism can begin to look a lot like selfishness. We should be angry that so many people are ignoring the simple fact that by exposing themselves to others, they are helping the spread of the disease."

Mr. Fain discussed how much progress scientists have made in better understanding the virus, and identified two key areas that stand out.

The first fact is that the main source of becoming infected is by breathing in air droplets from someone else's air. 

The other is that it takes more than a trivial amount of contact to spread it from person to person. Namely, you have to be closer than 6 feet apart for more than 15 minutes.

Mr. Fain feels these two facts are key to understanding the problem, and identifying a solution.

"If we all do what they tell us, if we all take the steps to wear a face covering and to keep separated by at least six feet, it won't take long to bring this disease under control."

"Frustrated, but optimistic"

While Mr. Fain spent the first half of the video lamenting the lack of progress in the United States addressing the root causes of the spread of the virus, he remains optimistic that it is still easy to fix things.

"It's clear that we don't have to go into hibernation to constrain the spread. We just need to follow a few simple practical restrictions for a short period of time to bring the numbers low enough that we can all feel comfortable again."

Healthy Sail Panel Update

The Healthy Sail Panel, which is tasked with creating new policies for Royal Caribbean to keep crew and guests safe once they resume sailings, has been at work as a team for over a month now.

Mr. Fain professed pride in the work this panel is doing to come up with practical rules and suggestions on how to make cruising safer.

"They're really going into depth on every topic, whether it is the air conditioning system or the practicalities of social distancing, or even the utensils used in a buffet setting."

"Our objective is not only to meet the minimum safety requirements, but to actually make the ship safer than the communities where our guests come from."

Mr. Fain reiterated that Royal Caribbean will not resume sailings until the cruise line and government authorities, "are satisfied that we can do so with all of the appropriate protocols in place."

In Germany, TUI Cruises will restart cruising on Friday because of the incredibly low rate of the virus there combined with extremely effective protocols, which Mr. Fain feels is a good sign that cruising has a future.

"Just as daffodils that are important sign of spring, I hope this small start in Germany bodes well for our future resumption. It won't be immediate, but it is coming."

In short, Mr. Fain concluded that these bad times will pass, and when it does, Royal Caribbean will be ready.

Royal Caribbean Chairman gives global cruise update on ships being sold, name change and more

In:
Category: 
15Jul2020

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain answered some of the hottest questions the public has been wondering about the state of the cruise industry.

In a webinar with travel agents, Mr. Fain responded to questions about a variety of topics related to Royal Caribbean cruises and what the cruise line is doing now, and what it plans to do to get back resuming sailings.

Former Monarch and Sovereign of the Seas will be sold

Ever since Pullmantur Cruises announced it was entering bankruptcy, many have wondered about the fate of the former Royal Caribbean ships sailing in the fleet.

Mr. Fain answered a question if Royal Caribbean has plans to sell ships in its fleet, saying simply there are no plans, but it is a consideration.

"There are no plans, but there are consideration," Fain said. "I think we will look at that somewhat opportunistic basis."

While there are no plans right now to sell its ships, the Pullmantur ships will be sold off due to the financial issues that cruise line is facing.

"The one exception would be the Pullmantur ships, which are now in the process of being sold."

Capacity of ships will be reduced initially

Echoing earlier statements, Mr. Fain talked about reducing capacity on its ships in order to implement social distancing.

"It is likely that when protocols are implemented, at least at the beginning, the capacity of the ships will will be reduced."

In terms of how many less guests, Mr. Fain talked about starting up in Europe as an example.

"It's likely we'll start out at lower capacity in Europe, the capacity levels for the starting up or at 60 to 70 percent potential load factors. And obviously that's quite a bit less than we're used to."

"But I think over time, particularly as treatments and pervasiveness of the disease and especially vaccines, that will then go back up. So there's a cost in the early period which hopefully will disappear fairly quickly."

Royal Caribbean Group name change

One of the early questions Mr. Fain touched upon was about the name change for Royal Caribbean's parent company, which has shifted from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to Royal Caribbean Group.

Mr. Fain was quick to point out that the legal name of the company is still Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, and was not sure yet if that will ever change.

"There was confusion sometimes between the brand Royal Caribbean International and the group of brands, which covers all six of the different brands. It was a little bit confusing to some people. And so we wanted a name for the for the parent company that was clear it wasn't the operating entity"

"I think under normal circumstances, we would have had a big announcement and a big rolling out of thi, but in a in a post-COVID world or in our current COVID world, we are being a lot more quiet about the whole thing."

Global operations update

A large part of Mr. Fain's comments were about providing a global update on where Royal Caribbean is currently in terms of getting ready to resume cruises.

Mr. Fain saw many positive signs, including its German brand, TUI Cruises, resuming cruises on July 24.

In addition, the new Healthy Sail Panel is going above and beyond the standard responses on land.

"The ship has special features, somethings make it more challenging, but some things provide real opportunities, and so they're really looking at it with an open mind and with an imaginative core. So I'm really quite excited about how that's going to work."

In terms of getting cruises back in the United States, Mr. Fain thinks a lot hinges upon how quickly cases can be reduced.

"A key factor will be how quickly we are successful in bringing the prevalence of it in society down. And you're seeing the impact in Europe where they have been successful in bringing it down and in much of Asia."

Why Royal Caribbean partnered with Norwegian Cruise Line

One question asked to Mr. Fain was why Royal Caribbean partnered with Norwegian Cruise Line and not other cruise lines.

"The truth is that we started out with the idea of doing a panel just of our own," Mr. Fain recalled, "I did call around other other cruise line CEOs, not just let them know what we were doing. And when I spoke to Frank Del Rio of Norwegian, he said and well, that's a coincidence because we have been working with a guy by the name of Scott Gottlieb."

"And so at that point, I quickly said, well, wow, if we're both doing the same thing, wouldn't we be more impactful together? And it really has been a wonderful experience."

Crew repatriation update

Like all cruise lines, Royal Caribbean has struggled with repatriating crew members due to increasingly strict local laws that prohibit anyone, including citizens of that country, from getting home.

"It's been it's been horrific for the crew members who are stuck and haven't been able to get home, and it's been very wrenching for us, to know that and not to be able to solve the problem."

"Ninety seven percent of our crew are safely home with their family and their loved ones."

"The people who are remaining are mostly from two countries which have sent severe restrictions on allowing anybody to come into the country, even their own citizens."

The four tiers of making cruise ships safe

In terms of keeping guests and crew safe onboard once cruises resume, there appears to be four tiers of planning required to make any new procedures as effective as possible.

"We really need to be able to address all four of those. You probably have some ideas by seeing what's happening elsewhere, but we have some really cool, innovative ideas coming out of the committee."

Mr. Fain outlined them as:

Screening

"You take steps to make it harder for the disease to get onboard in the first place."

Steps onboard the ship

"You have steps onboard the ship, which would include lower capacities, probably not self-service buffets, etc."

Destinations ships visit

"To make sure both that we're not doing anything to bring the disease to the destinations and conversely, that the destinations would not be a source of contagion to our guests."

What if there is a case on a Royal Caribbean ship?

How do you make sure that you can handle that in a way that basically handles it smoothly and efficiently on board and and to get the people home safely. 

Royal Caribbean Chairman issues update on returning to service and speaks out on racism

In:
Category: 
18Jun2020

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman & CEO Richard Fain published a new video update to travel advisors that comments on what the cruise giant is doing to return to service, as well as touching on the senseless death of George Floyd and the issue of racism.

Mr. Fain has produced a series of videos from his home in South Florida, speaking to travel advisors about what the cruise line is doing during this global cruise suspension, and words of encouragement to the travel agent community.

Returning to service

Mr. Fain began his talk reiterating Royal Caribbean's commitment to working with government authorities in crafting a safe and balanced approach to returning to service. There were no specifics shared, but he talked about the guidance from a Blue Ribbon panel of experts to guide their return.

"We are working to make sure we are doing it properly, and that we're working to do it quickly. On the question of doing it properly. I've been unequivocal that we will raise the bar on all our health and safety protocols. Our industry has long had some of the highest hygiene and health procedures on planet Earth. But in a COVID-19 world, we need to do even better, and we are determined that we will do so."

"And on the question of doing it fast, we're working as diligently as we know how. Our operations will start small and they will start carefully, but we will start as soon as we and the relevant authorities are satisfied that all the appropriate health processes and procedures are in place."

"We've established a blue ribbon panel made up of some of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the world. These are leading experts in all the relevant fields, including epidemiology, infectious diseases, public policy and regulation, engineering and general health safety. They really are the best of the best. We think they will help us with a faster and more comprehensive analysis and we will be announcing more about this in the near future."

Racism

Towards the end of the video, Mr. Fain took time to speak out on the issue of racism and the impact of George Floyd's senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

Mr. Fain hoped this tragedy would spark an opportunity to implement real change in our society.

"The senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police has forced us all to confront the harsh reality that our country just hasn't made nearly the progress we thought we had, and that we need to have, in order to protect the lives and the rights of people of color. It's a time to listen to the experience of our friends and neighbors. It's a time to learn, and it is a time to act."

"We've started conversations about this topic with our employees at the Royal Caribbean Group, and some of those conversations are difficult. I hope you're having these same kind of conversations in your community as well. We have to have them, because we will get past this virus. But getting to a place of real change in the fight against racism will be an even longer and more difficult battle, nd we all need each other's help."

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. was named by Forbes to the America's Best Employers for Diversity 2019 list.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Chairman rejects the idea of a "new normal"

In:
Category: 
05Jun2020

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain shared a new video with travel advisors challenging the notion of "new normal" as it relates to the world today.

Mr. Fain explained that change is an inevitable part of life, and as it relates to cruising, change is something that has been a key part of Royal Caribbean's mantra.

"Some people, many people are beginning to talk about the next chapter as the new normal. That's a term that I've begun to hate."

"The only constant is change. We don't know how the future is going to unfold. We don't know how long it will take to get beyond this epidemic, and the traumatic changes that we are enduring to deal with it. We do know that things will be different."

"Most importantly, there won't be a new normal for selling cruises, or taking cruises or operating cruises. Change is coming to cruising. Some suggest the cruising in the future will be unrecognizable from what we are used to. That we will go from one constant, unchanging cruise experience before, to a radically different, totally changed cruise experience after. Horse pucky."

Mr. Fain reiterated how important change has been to the makeup of Royal Caribbean, "When we design our ships, we talk about a design formula of one third tradition, one third evolution and one third revolution," he said.  "That formula's worked pretty well for us and it works in the post-COVID world, too. It doesn't stick us in the past, but it isn't a new normal."

Towards the end of the video message, Mr. Fain spoke about the health protocols Royal Caribbean is working on that will be announced soon.

"We will raise the bar even higher on health, safety, sanitation and medical care. We will soon be announcing a blue ribbon panel working to ensure our health safety protocols are unparalleled. We will proceed cautiously and we will learn from our experiences. And unquestionably, we will invest in all these areas more than most of our guests will ever fully see or know."

"As I said, our mantra is continuous improvement. And it means just that everything gets better. Every chance we get."

Royal Caribbean Chairman: We're working on protocols and procedures to protect guests against COVID-19

In:
Category: 
26May2020

Royal Caribbean Cruises Chairman Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain issued a new video update aimed at travel agents that talked about what the cruise line is doing behind the scenes to keep guests safe once cruises resume.

Mr. Fain indicated that Royal Caribbean is working on a detailed set of protocols and procedures that aim to provide guests a level of confidence that cruising is safe.

While other companies are trying to get back to business as soon as possible, Royal Caribbean is opting to take the time to sort out the best possible approach.

"We aren't operating today, and therefore, we have the luxury of time to develop and to refine our ideas. We have the time to put together a blue ribbon group of experts to advise us and to help us chart the absolutely best course."

"So stay tuned. We will soon be talking more about our way forward, and when we do, I believe in fact, I'm confident, that you will say that we have used our time wisely."

Mr. Fain also indicated that Royal Caribbean is considering opening their headquarter offices in Florida sometime next month. Their offices in China have been open and operating for almost two months now.

As has become his trademark in each video, Mr. Fain offered a positive and encouraging outlook on what the future holds for us all.

"But this too shall pass. It will leave an indelible mark on our country and on our psyche. But it will pass because we are stronger than this disease. We are determined to take the necessary steps to bring it under control and to live our lives again, just as we did after September 11th."

"Onward and upward. Step by step together. Stay safe out there. Oh, and don't forget, washing your hands is still important."

You can view the other videos that Mr. Fain has produced over the last few weeks:

Royal Caribbean Chairman talks of work to get crew home and restart cruises

In:
Category: 
04May2020

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Chairman and CEO Richard Fain provided an update on Monday of what the cruise line is doing to repatriate its crew members, as well as prepare itself to resume sailings.

In a new video, Mr. Fain spoke to travel advisors on his view of what the world looks like as it attempts to slowly overcome the current global health scenario.

"Our role is to do everything that passion and ingenuity can offer to keep our ships safe and healthy. Our guests are off our ship and we still have crew on ships who want to go home and we're working feverishly to overcome all the travel barriers to do that.  We believe we found ways to finish that imperative and expect to complete the process shortly."

"Looking forward to restarting, health and safety are absolutely paramount as I've said before, what was fine just a few weeks ago is no longer adequate. Good enough just good enough. We need to raise the bar to new heights, and we have teams of doctors, of scientists, of epidemiologists, and teams of people who know our business, all looking hard and charting the safest and surest path forward that we can."

In addition, Mr. Fain spent a great deal of time looking at the current state of flux in statistics, methods and policy changes.

"There is no silver bullet which will magically destroy this horrible infestation. On the other hand, there's a cornucopia of smaller actions, which taken together can bring it under control."

"We're not there yet, but every day seems to bring us just a little bit closer, and as we get closer, we can switch from focusing on only isolation to focusing on the other components of that cornucopia of actions."

At the conclusion of the video, Mr. Fain reiterated Royal Caribbean's support of the travel agent community and the cruise line's unwavering dedication to them.

You can view the other videos that Mr. Fain has produced over the last few weeks:

Royal Caribbean Chairman speaks about the steps necessary to reopen Royal Caribbean

In:
Category: 
23Apr2020

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Chairman and CEO Richard Fain released a new video update that speaks to what to expect as we start to reach a peak in the current global situation.

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As one in a series of videos produced for travel agents, Mr. Fain speaks of the changing nature of our world, and what we can do to prepare for reopening.

"And even as we reenter the reopening process, it will need to be gradual. We can't just squander all the containment we've achieved by suddenly opening everything up without careful thought."

"Opening too soon, or without proper controls, will allow the resurgence of the disease. Alternatively, opening too late or with too many restrictions, will cause more economic pain and suffering. Either extreme causes a totally unacceptable level of human suffering."

"At Royal Caribbean, we're using this time of the suspension to learn as much as we can about this disease, and how to contain it. We're using this time to consult with experts in the field. We're trying to understand the science. We're using this develop new ways of doing things to protect the health of our guests, and our crew. Our objective is to make our ships not just good enough, but the best they can be."

Mr. Fain suggested three perspectives on the things Royal Caribbean and its partners need to do to lead to reopening.

  1. Do what our governments tell us we need to do.
  2. Understand that our world has changed.
  3. A critical role for travel agents to provide expertise to clients.

"What was reasonable a month ago, is no longer adequate."

Mr. Fain reiterated that there is a new normal now, and Royal Caribbean is committed to rising to that challenge. He also mentioned the cruise line will provide more details "in the near future."

In addition, the cruise line is putting together "an information pack on testing" to collect the best information out there in an easy to understand manner, based on consultations with medical experts. 

The hope is this information pack is one step in a series by Royal Caribbean to support the travel agent community in gearing up for the resumption of cruises.

You can view the other videos that Mr. Fain has produced over the last few weeks:

Royal Caribbean named to President's economic revival group

In:
Category: 
17Apr2020

The White House announced on Thursday a collection of executives from a variety of industry groups that are tasked with advising President Trump on how to best restart the economy, including Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain.

Along with Fain, the cruise lines executives include Micky Arison, Chairman of the Board. Carnival Corporation, and Frank Del Rio, President and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. 

Almost 200 people make up the this new economic council, that include executives from sectors including technology, agriculture, banking, financial services, defense, energy, transportation, sports and health care.

The task of these executives, scholars and industry leaders is to work work together to help guide the United States to economic recovery.

There is no indication yet how this industry group will work, or how the suggestions or ideas formulated by members will be used to reopen business, schools, stadiums or offices.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Chairman quotes Winston Churchill in latest update on state of cruising during coronavirus crisis

In:
Category: 
13Apr2020

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain shared a new update on Monday, providing a look at the current state of cruising during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as providing an outlook.

The new video was taken at his home (and filmed by his wife). Mr. Fain drew a parallel to World War 2 when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill seized an opportunity of a British victory on land to provide hope to his people. 

"This was the first ray of hope in a long time, and Winston Churchill said the following to the British people in a radio address. He said, 'Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.'"

"I think our situation today is similar. Think back a few weeks, and remember it's only been a few weeks, to when this all began. Who understood the true significance of what we were facing? Who realized that it would impact each of us so dramatically? Who fathomed the level of pain, and frustration it would cause."

"But today, we're past that first crazy scramble. Guests have returned home, crews are being cared for, the pause in sailings is underway, and the rush of cancellation has eased up, at least a little, aided with our Cruise with Confidence program."

Mr. Fain spoke to the frustrations and financial turmoil both Royal Caribbean and travel advisors are facing during this downturn.  

"Our economic picture is tough. No revenue is coming in, zero. And our expenses continue, and I know each of you, like us, are having to make decisions that bring tears to your eyes."

"Realistically, we in the travel and tourism business, will probably be at the tail end of the recovery."

In addition, Royal Caribbean is now focused on making very certain that when cruises do resume, they are ready not only to welcome guests back onboard, but to ensure they are healthy.

"Our people are using this time to adjust our protocols, to prepare for a public that's much more focus on health and safety than ever before. We're working with the CDC and others to make sure that we're taking advantage of all the new knowledge, the new technology, and the new procedures to ensure that our cleanliness and our health efforts are at the very highest level."

"We will take the steps that we need to take to allow you to sail confidently."

Like in his other videos, Mr. Fain was frank and direct with his view of how things are progressing, and where they will go.

"Now, we need to think about the future. Travel and tourism are, and will be, one of the most important areas globally. It's true not only in economic terms, but also for the benefit of society as a whole. The world needs to break down the barriers that isolate us; the world needs to understand each other; and people need to share experiences. This is what we all do, and we do it damn well."

In conclusion, Mr. Fain offered a positive outlook for all concerned about when cruising might resume.

"Just over a month ago, I said that this would be over sooner than we think. I didn't put a date on it, and I still can't, but I stand by my statement."

"The cruise industry has only been shut for about a month. It may seem like forever, but it really has been only a month. The slow return will also seem like forever, but it too is coming. And when it does, we need to be prepared for it.

Mr. Fain has been producing videos on a near-weekly basis, and you can check out each of his powerful and insightful takes on the situation:

Royal Caribbean executives take pay cut as coronavirus impact on cruise industry deepens

In:
01Apr2020

According to paperwork filed with the SEC, Royal Caribbean's top executives are taking a pay cut while the cruise industry deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has volunteered to not take a salary through the end of September, while Royal Caribeban International CEO Michael Bayley took a 25% pay cut.

Other executives taking a 25% pay cut include CFO Jason Liberty, and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity Cruises.

Effective as of April 1, 2020, Richard Fain, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, agreed to forego payment of his base salary and Jason Liberty, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, each elected to reduce their respective base salaries by 25%, in each case, through September 30, 2020. These reductions were made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative financial and operational impacts resulting therefrom.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative financial and operational impacts resulting therefrom, the Board of Directors approved to forego all cash retainers and fees payable for Board and committee service, effective from April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

COVID-19 has completely disrupted the cruise industry, with Royal Caribbean in the midst of cancelling all sailings through at least mid-May.

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