Royal Caribbean reveals coronavirus pandemic costing $150 million a month

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The cost of keeping Royal Caribbean Cruises running is at least $150 million a month – even with the global pause in operations, the cruise line has revealed.

The eye-watering figure was published in the company’s business update this month, with the line also announcing a delay in the delivery of new ships.

“These are unprecedented times for all of us. Travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders are important to slowing the spread of the virus, but they have severely impacted our operations,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean.

“We are taking decisive actions to prioritise the safety of our guests and crew while protecting our fleet and bolstering liquidity.”

Despite the storm of uncertainty affecting the industry, and with bookings for the rest of 2020 “meaningfully lower” with “elevated cancellations” when compared to 2019, Royal Caribbean reports that booking levels for 2021 have not been drastically affected, remaining “within historical ranges when compared to same time last year”.

The company said that as of April 30, only 45 per cent of guests have requested cash refunds on cancelled bookings. The majority of passengers who were due to travel on cancelled cruises have taken the offer of future cruise credits, worth 125 per cent of the initial cruise fare, in lieu of refunds.

To the end of March, the company was holding $2.4 billion (£2 billion) in customer deposits.

The cruise giant has not undertaken any cruises since they were suspended two months ago, in line with the rest of the industry. It plans to restart operations from June 12 at the earliest, though has warned disruptions with travel plans and in ports could result in an extension.

But while ships remain anchored and there are no passengers on board, the operational costs remain high even though approximately 26 per cent of a 5,000-strong staff have seen their jobs lost or work reduced.

Read more via The Telegraph

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