Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO says that the company expects its entire fleet to be sailing by summer. The increased capacity, however, won’t necessarily translate to low prices.
Fleet To Be Sailing For Peak Summer Season
Despite the bump in the road which was caused by the rise of the omicron variant, Del Rio said during an earnings call with investors that things were back on track. “Despite sailing cancellations and slight changes in our return-to-service plans,” he told participants, “all of our vessels are expected to sail by early May and in time for the peak summer season.”
Recent changes to protocols allowing unvaccinated guests under 12 years of age to sail on Norwegian Cruise Line ships, as well as masks becoming optional, came at a crucial time. These two factors, he said, would allow “families to travel together regardless of age and without the mandate of wearing a mask.” Better still, this development came early enough that it provided “plenty of time and opportunity for families to plan their summer vacations with us.”
He noted that the policy regarding unvaccinated children applied only to Norwegian Cruise Line and not the company’s other divisions, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises. Those, he said, would “continue sailing with 100 percent of passengers vaccinated.”
Why You Won’t Find Low Prices
Although some cruisers have noted price reductions on last-minute Norwegian Cruise Line bookings, that’s definitely the exception rather than the rule… and will continue to be. Del Rio is a big believer that lowering the price simply to fill staterooms, as some of the competition has been known to do, is a mistake. “We have not and will not chase short-term occupancy by sacrificing price,” he told investors, “which only results in long-term and perhaps even permanent damage to brand equity.”
Rather, he says, “We believe in the product. You pay for what you get.” Because of that philosophy, “it wasn’t hard for us to resist following others and dropping prices to levels that I’ve never seen before.”