COVID-19 testing 'very likely' when Royal Caribbean returns to cruising, executive says

There have been hopes to resume cruising in November, and no firm dates are set

Royal Caribbean Group is set to begin COVID-19 testing on its ships when cruise operations return, according to an executive.

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"It’s very likely that testing will occur," said Michael Bayley, CEO of Royal Caribbean International, offering no additional details or specifics.

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Although there have been hopes to resume cruising in November, and no firm dates are set, next steps are unclear regardless because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no-sail order expires at the end of September.

The American cruise industry extended its no-sail order through Oct. 31.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
RCLROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES66.09+1.50+2.32%

Regarding the new health and safety protocols, the company is being advised by a “Healthy Sail Panel” of experts in areas of science and public health with backgrounds in medical practice, research, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations.

Starting on March 13, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company, with a fleet of 62 ships, with another 16 on order, suspended its global cruise operation, resulting in the cancellation of all second-quarter sailings.

Royal Caribbean posted a $1.6 billion loss. Its adjusted loss was $6.13 per share, compared with analysts’ average forecast of a loss of $4.82 per share. The cruise operator says it is burning through $250 million to $290 million a month.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic is posing an unprecedented challenge to our industry and society. Our teams are working tirelessly to return to service soonest and doing so by developing new health and safety protocols to protect the well-being of our guests, crew and destinations we visit,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO. “In the meantime, we are using this time to refine our operations to be as efficient as we can while providing the great experiences that so many people are eagerly awaiting.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.