Norwegian Cruise Line’s UK & Ireland boss says the success of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and the impact on infection and mortality rates have left him “very hopeful for the future”.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, vice-president and managing director Eamonn Ferrin said: “We’re hopeful that things do look like they’re changing very quickly, and, with a new vaccine rollout, some of the numbers that we’re seeing across the world are getting better and so we’re very hopeful for the future.”

He said falling infection and death rates pointed to a promising second half of the year.

“You can take from the fact that we’ve suspended sailing until the end of May that we’re not going to be doing it before, but it is currently only February 22, so we still have many months to figure out how this looks.

“If one looks at the situation worldwide, which we do across the board, one of my areas of responsibility – Israel – is leading the field. Over 4.3 million people as of today, out of a population of eight or nine million, have been vaccinated.

“And some of the recent studies that the health ministry has undertaken have shown huge collapses in the hospitalisation rate, the infection rate, and, of course, the death rate due to Covid – all because of the vaccine rollout.”

He added: “These are highly encouraging figures that we can draw on, from the leader in terms of the rollout of vaccines, closely followed by UAE, which is actually doing very well, and then UK, I believe, is number three in that process.

“If you look at the World Health Organisation’s big league table on what’s happening on a daily basis, we have gone in the UK from roughly 68,000 infections-a-week down to under 10,000 this week. And deaths, similarly, are down from nearly 2,000-a-week to below 700. So, the graphs are moving in the right direction for us all. And we’re very pleased to see that.

“The government, in the UK certainly, is extending the vaccine rollout at pace and we’re hopeful that we can get on top of this and can resume our roadmap to resumption of safe sailing.”