The CEO of Royal Caribbean International is predicting his company will be back in force in the Caribbean next year, noting vaccinations to protect people against coronavirus are progressing in the countries that send vacationers to the region and in Caribbean destinations themselves.
Michael Bayley told a Wednesday Caribbean Tourism Organization webinar that RCI is seeing “a lot of enthusiasm” for 2022 bookings, with Caribbean cruise bookings particularly strong.
The cruise company’s vessels have been idle for the past year but Bayley said that within “the coming months” that the “vast majority” of Royal Caribbean’s clientele will have been vaccinated and those in RCI’s Caribbean destinations will have been “largely vaccinated…
“People do believe the worst is behind us,” he said. “People do believe that this is coming to an end.”
Cruise companies are committed to vaccinating their crews, he continued.
Vaccinations are seen as crucial for a major tourism rebound, with Bayley predicting that 2022 “could be one of the biggest years in our travel industry, not just for cruises…I think we’re all ready for a vacation.”
He added that Royal Caribbean believes the Caribbean is “going to come back roaring.”
Royal Caribbean has 25 ships, most of which sail in the Caribbean year-round, with Bayley stating that the Caribbean is the “epicenter of our brand.”
Bayley conceded this has been “a very challenging time” for the cruise industry but he’s upbeat about recent developments.
“We’re on the right path,” he said. “I think we just need to accelerate the goodness that’s from the vaccines.”