Norwegian CEO: ‘I Don’t Need the CDC to Tell Me How to Run a Safe Cruise Line’

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio is not mincing words when it comes to his stance on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in general and the agency’s latest guidelines in particular.

norwegian pearl
Norwegian Pearl

“It Was Not An Easy Decision”

During a recent earnings call with investors, Del Rio admitted that he’s “been very vocal throughout the pandemic as to the disappointment that we’ve all suffered at the hands of the CDC. [They] didn’t shut down any other industry for nearly 18 months. And the CDC continues to have policies toward us that are not seen anywhere in the industry, but we are making progress with them.”

Earlier this year, the CDC announced a new program that they asked cruise lines to voluntarily join. While Norwegian did so, Del Rio admits “It was not an easy decision to opt in.”

MORE: Cruise Lines Cancel Russia Port Stops, Look For Alternative Destinations

How Things Are Changing

That said, Del Rio believes that the relationship between cruise lines and the CDC is improving. Recent moves, he said, gave the industry hope that things are moving toward “where we need to go.”

Frank Del Rio NCL Encore christening
Frank Del Rio (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Ultimately, he pointed out that Norwegian’s brands have “always exceeded whatever the CDC’s guidelines are. I don’t need the CDC to tell me how to operate a safe cruise line. Our protocols have always exceeded theirs and continue to do so. At the end of the day, we need to build consumer confidence, and I think we’re doing that.”

As the pandemic continues to change, so too, the CEO believes, will the CDC’s approach. “The pandemic is waning in several areas, vaccinations are up, the severity of the cases are down,” he pointed out. “We as a society are learning to live with this. And I think the CDC is mindful of that and wants to get away from being seen as [acting] discriminatory toward the cruise industry and being behind the times. So I think that in the near future, we’re going to see a much more friendly environment toward the cruise industry from the CDC.”

READ NEXT: Norwegian Changes Vaccination Policy

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