Cruise Bookings Rise After Coronavirus Vaccine News
It appears that Pfizer’s encouraging COVID-19 vaccine news gave some enough comfort to book cruises this past week.
Data from Pfizer’s late-stage vaccine trial news sent the U.S. stock markets soaring on Monday, along with Norwegian and its peers, Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean, which all surged by almost 30%.
According to Norwegian Cruise Line CEO, Frank Del Rio, the vaccine news drove higher-than-usual bookings on Monday.
“Bookings, the last 24 hours, yesterday, were pretty good, better than the previous four or five Mondays. And that, I think, is attributable to the vaccine news,” he said. “We did not have any particular promotion or did any outsized marketing.”
The news of the potential Pfizer vaccine came after the CDC lifted the No-Sail Order and replaced it with a “Conditional Sailing Order.” This new order laid out a phased approach to help cruise companies resume operations in U.S. and international waters.
With the replacement of the No-Sail Order and the advances in COVID-19 vaccines, testing and therapeutics, Del Rio said “the excitement level hasn’t been this high in a long, long time.” Del Rio believes that the vaccine, along with advances in COVID-19 testing, will help cruise travel resume.
Norwegian is currently in talks with the CDC about how to interpret the Conditional Sailing Order. They plan to launch trail sailings in January 2021 to see how new guidelines will impact existing operations.
Such test cruises would work to review the health protocols that Norwegian and its industry peers put in place to see if they effectively limit the spread of the virus and protect passengers and crew from exposure.
Del Rio said he hopes the company’s full fleet can resume operations in six to nine months, though he added that’s just a “best answer today” and there are many uncertainties.