Richard Fain

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman offers message of support to travel industry in midst of Coronavirus pandemic


Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain reached out to travel agents to offer words of encouragement during a time when Coronavirus is dominating the news, and many people's travel plans.

"I just want to say one thing: breathe. Step back, shake a little stress out of your shoulders, and breathe. All of us in the cruise industry are working as hard as we can to help get us through this difficult time."

In a recorded video, Mr. Fain spoke to the current situation, and offered words of encouragement to continue on, and that this will all eventually pass.

"It's a long road ahead on the home front, and it's important to keep your focus on helping each other get through this challenging time."

This is the second video Mr. Fain has produced that is aimed at the travel partners that Royal Caribbean relies on, although his message is more universal than just travel professionals. Earlier this month, Mr. Fain shared a video message to reassure everyone that the Coronavirus threat will eventually pass.

Royal Caribbean Chairman shares reassuring message in midst of Coronavirus outbreak


The travel industry has been hit particularly hard by the Coronavirus outbreak, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain appealed directly to the travel agent community to remain vigilant.

Mr. Fain sent a video to travel agents who sell cruises on Royal Caribbean, as well as her sister brands, and urged despite the tumultuous situation at hand with the Coronavirus, better times are still to come.

"This is a tough time - a really tough time - and all of us know it, because all of us are going through it together."

"After reading enough of the endless media reports about Coronavirus, it's really easy to think that the world is coming to an end. Well, I have a spoiler alert: it's not. We're all spending time worrying, and that's natural, because we're in a storm, and when you're in the middle of a storm, it certainly feels like it'll never end. But as with most storms, it gets worse before it gets better, but it's hard to remember that this too shall pass. And while the virus is something to be taken seriously, it's not a cause for panic - not in a personal sense, and not in a business sense either."

"As far as the business impact on our business, it ain't pretty. In fact, to use a technical term I learned in business school, it sucks."

"We've absolutely sailed through rough waters like this before, and we've weathered every storm side-by-side with you. We all vividly remember dealing with all the impacts of 9/11 had on revenue, and on our operations. And remember the last pandemic, the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009? Or the Ebola scare? In each case, it felt to me at least, like the rough seas were never going to end. But in each case, they did."

"We are a strong and growing company in a strong and growing industry, and that's the walk we're walking. Because when this is finally behind us, and it will be behind us, we are going to be in a position to take advantage and to move forward at a fast pace."

"The bad news is that we're in a tough patch. The good news is that we're in it together, and together, we'll get to the better part sooner than you think."

While the video is directed to travel agents, I believe it is a good reminder to us all that, as Mr. Fain said, this too shall pass. 

Royal Caribbean chairman defends cruise line screening processes


Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain spoke to CNBC about the recent bout of sickness that spread to over 600 passengers onboard Explorer of the Seas that is believed to be Norovirus.  He defended the way Royal Caribbean looks for passengers who may be sick prior to cruising to prevent them from infecting others.

"We screen our passengers as best we can," Richard Fain told CNBC in an interview.

“It’s a very unfortunate inciden. Our people responded quickly and aggressively.”

Fain also noted the recent cold temperatures in the northeast may have played a part, with the cruise originating from Bayonne, New Jersey.

Future bookings wouldn't be affected, said Fain. "Most people understand just how common a thing this is," he said.

Fain stood on the company's record in response to incidents like these. “We do an amazing job of helping guests when they do get sick and then cleaning after," he said.

Royal Caribbean officials talk of cruise line plans for the future at conference


Speaking at the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) conference in Cartagena, Colombia, Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein and Chairman Richard Fain commented on the future of the cruise line in a number of directions.

Minuto30 covered the conference where Goldstein spoke about which parts of the world Royal Caribbean will focus its efforts in the coming years and mentioned they will strengthen its presence in the Caribbean, its natural destination, but is dedicated to recognizing "business opportunities everywhere."

"There are other regions like Asia-Pacific, also emerge as potential cruise," Goldstein added, stressing that these routes are also near the American public, who "will remain the largest source of world cruises".

Later Richard Fain addressed one of the thorniest issues surrounding this industry: safety.  He said that cruise ship safety is "essential" along with respect for the environment.

Royal Caribbean Chairman: Increased revenue & efficiency


During Royal Caribbean's second quarter financial results conference call, Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain credited an increase in revenue in part due to its newer ships being more efficient and generating revenue at a faster pace.

According to Fain, cruise ships built since 2006 are generating 25% more revenue per berth than their older sister ships.  Moreover, operating costs for older ships are more than 20% higher per berth.

To that point, Fain pointed out that Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are the most efficient ships in the fleet, with 25% lower fuel consumption per berth than the rest of the fleet.  Fain expects Quantum of the Seas to follow the Oasis-class path by doing even better, and should set a new standard.

Fain also mentioned an emerging technology that Royal Caribbean has been testing with sister-brand Celebrity Cruises that use bubbles to lessen hull friction in the water.  Tiny bubbles stick to the bottom of the ship's hull so the ship literally is sailing on a cushion of air.  The technology is working so well that Fain expects to roll it out to other ships in the fleet, "in due course".

Royal Caribbean chairman hints at new ship order possible


During the Royal Caribbean second quarter 2012 financial results conference call, Royal Caribbean chairman hinted at the possibility that Royal Caribbean could order a new ship for either Royal Caribbean or its sister company, Celebrity Cruises.

Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain spoke about the possibility, "We clearly are looking at that sort of thing. "I think what we're looking at is, we see that even in this market, we could get some very attractive returns from some of our vessels that have performed well."

"From 2012 through 2016, our berth capacity growth is less than 3%, and in fact, we don't have any ship deliveries in 2013 at all," he said. "But as we said before, we also can't stagnate. Given the long lead time for a new vessel, we're approaching the point where a new order could not be delivered until the middle to late 2016, by which time, we will be enjoying much better profitability and much improved credit metrics."

Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain awarded Personality of the Year


Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain was awarded the Seatrade Personality of the Year 2012 award at a dinner held at London's Guildhall.

About 400 people witnessed the 24th annual Seatrade Awards, which is a shipping industry event that recognizes companies in the areas of safety at sea, clean shipping and innovation, as well as individuals that make significant contributions to the shipping industry.

Seatrade chairman Chris Hayman spoke about why Fain deserves the award, "through his exceptional leadership and perseverance Royal Caribbean has blossomed in different directions to become a global cruise company operating 40 ships under the Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises and CDF Croisières de France brands."

Fain was praised for two achievements at Royal Caribbean: Overseeing the remarkable development in the hardware of the product, ‘not just size and volume but the transformation of the onboard experience incorporating elements that no one would have even dreamt about 25 years ago’; and secondly globalisation, both in deployment of cruise ships and sourcing of passengers. ‘Under his leader ship the company has moved ships to Asia, Middle East, South America and other parts of the world which are now all considered as major destinations and sources of passenger growth,’ he added.

Fain accepted the award and offered a few words of thanks for the honor, "I take this award with great humility. To receive this honor from Seatrade, handed to me by the IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu, is very much a reminder of how important it is that each and every one of us in this great industry to which I have devoted my business career, maintains a high level of excellence."

"I am unusual in this room in that there are not many people who have crossed over from real shipping to cruising. When I first joined Royal Caribbean 90% of our ships sailed from Miami, within a few minutes reach of our offices, now more than 50% of our business is coming from outside the US."

New Singapore cruise terminal ready for Voyager of the Seas


Royal Caribbean's Chairman Richard Fain has personally looked around the new International Cruise Terminal in Singapore and likes what he sees.

Fain has been told that the new terminal will be ready for the arrival of Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas when she arrives on May 26 for her debut in Asia.  Previously the Singapore Tourism Board had only indicated that the new terminal would be ready in the second quarter of 2012.

"Because the ship is coming in late May, I was assured the terminal would be ready for the voyage of the ship," Fain said. "It's also very efficient. That's important in the cruise industry. It's gratifying to see how well-thought through the logistics are: How passengers come in, how luggage is handled, the supplies to the ship. There are commodious areas to handle all the activities that need to be attended to. They are all well-thought out in a progressive way."

Voyager of the Seas' first cruise from Dubai to Singapore is already sold out, which has exceeded expecations according to Fain.

Royal Caribbean announces termination of stock agreement deal


Royal Caribbean's two largest shareholders, A Wilhelmsen AS and Cruise Associates, have informed Royal Caribbean that they have terminated the Shareholders’ Agreement between themselves.  The deal between the two shareholders meant they agreed to vote their shares for the election as directors of four nominees of each shareholder. With the termination of the Shareholders’ Agreemnt, the two shareholders are no longer obliged to vote their shares in this manner.

Royal Caribbean is not included in the agreement but did issue a statement that the decision has nothing to do with Royal Caribbean as a company.  Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean's Chairman had this to say,  "This action is solely between the two shareholders and does not involve the Company.  We do not expect today’s announcement to result in any change in the Company’s operations or strategic direction."

Per Royal Caribbean's Articles of Incorporation stipulate that when the Shareholders’ Agreement was in place, the approval of at least one director affiliated with each of the two shareholders was required for certain corporate actions. Now that the agreement is terminated, this is no longer a requirement. In addition, Royal Caribbean noted that these changes are consistent with current trends in best practice for good corporate governance.

Royal Caribbean Chairman says North Americans wont be leading demographic anymore


North America has been the perennial leader in cruising for so many years now but Royal Caribbean's Chairman Richard Fain thinks that will change.  During the launch of Celebrity Cruise's newest ship (Royal Caribbean owns Celebrity Cruises), Fain made this profound prediction, "Next year, the rest of the world will book more cruises than North America".

Given how Royal Caribbean has distributed its fleet in recent years, it's really no surprise.  Half of Royal Caribbean's fleet is based in Europe.  In addition, Royal Caribbean is adding capacity  in Asia and Australia and they're also opening sales offices in the countries from which its ships will cruise.

With high airfares, many North Americans chose not to cruise in Europe this year, and many believe the strength in the Alaska market is a result of that reluctance.