Royal Caribbean boss Richard Fain quotes Winston Churchill is his latest video update to the trade on the global cruise ship shutdown.
The chairman and chief executive of Royal Caribbean Cruises quoted the British wartime leader following the battle of El Alamain in 1942 by saying: “This is not the end, it’s not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Fain described this coronavirus situation today as being similar – who understood a few weeks ago the significance of the pandemic and who realised it would impact everyone “so dramatically” and “who fathomed the level of pain and frustration it would cause”.
He added: “But today we are past that first crazy scramble. Guests have returned home, crews are being cared for, the pause in sailings is underway and the rush of cancellations as eased up, at least a little, aided by our ‘cruise with confidence’ programme.”
Fain referred to the impact social distancing was having on declining the progress of coronavirus in the US.
“Clearly, as frustrating as these steps have been, they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do,” he said.
But Fain admitted that the economic picture is tough with no revenue coming in while expenses continue.
“You, like us, are having to make decisions that bring tears to your eyes,” he said. “We need to be realistic, there’s still tough economic weather to come, the cruise suspension keeps getting extended, but that’s part of the process.
“We don’t know how long this will all play out and until we do it’s appropriate to take each day as it comes because we know the eventual outcome will be positive.
“Realistically, we in the travel and tourism business will probably be at the tail end of the recovery.”
While people are ready to get out of the house, it may take a while before people are focussed on taking a long flight, joining crowds at a theme park or taking a cruise, Fain cautioned.
The company is using the down time to prepare for a public that will be much more focused on health and safety than ever before.
And he stressed: “We will take the steps that we need to take to allow you to sail confidently and for your guests to sail securely.
“The cruise industry has only been shut for about a month, it may seem like forever. The slow return will also seem like forever but it too is coming and when it does we need to be prepared for it.
“Building back our business is going to be hard work, it’s going to take time and a whole lot of effort to climb our way back.”