Royal Caribbean To Eliminate Buffets on Post-Coronavirus Cruises

Royal Caribbean announced during a conference call that health and safety changes being planned for a post-coronavirus cruise industry include eliminating traditional buffet offerings.

According to, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley revealed during a virtual call with the cruise line’s senior vice president Vicki Freed that buffets will have to be at least temporarily removed from ships to avoid any concerns about the spread of illnesses.

“I think in the beginning, there will not be a buffet, that’s how I see it,” Bayley said. “We will utilize the space, we will utilize the Windjammer, but in all probability, it won’t be a classical buffet.”

“It will be something more akin to a restaurant,” Bayley continued.

The likely removal of buffets from dining areas is just the latest in a long line of health and safety changes being made to ensure the cruise line will be able to sail when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifts its no-sail order.

Royal Caribbean is also working with the CDC on enhanced measures to protect the health, safety and security of guests, crew and the communities visited when operations resume.

Last month, the cruise line filed a patent application for its own branded version of a face mask to protect passengers and employees. Dubbed Seaface, the plan is for the safety devices to be implemented on all of the company’s ships.

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Royal Caribbean anticipates travel agency consolidation

After the coronavirus crisis, there may be fewer travel
agencies due to consolidation and more advisors working from home, Royal
Caribbean executives said on Monday. 

During a virtual media roundtable, Royal Caribbean
International senior vice president of sales, trade support and service Vicki
Freed, said, “None of us have a crystal ball but I think on the top end, you’ll
see consolidation of retail locations,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean execs anticipate an increase in
home-based workers, including independent contractors. 

“I think the home-based type of setup for travel advisors
will likely grow even more than it was,” said Azamara COO Carol Cabezas.

Although she anticipates fewer travel agents working in
retail locations, Freed indicated that the number of agents could be relatively
unchanged post-coronavirus, although it could take some time to ramp up to that

“As we reintroduce cruising to so many people, I think in
time they will grow their business back,” Freed said.

Royal Caribbean is guiding travel agents about relief
options available to small businesses and individuals in the Cares Act. Royal
Caribbean calls its education program RCL Cares, and the company launched the
effort to help keep its sales force intact. 

“We want to make sure we have a healthy distribution system
that is going to be part of our future,” Freed said.  

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Royal Caribbean Comments on Liquidity Actions and 2020 Outlook

WHY IT RATES: Royal Caribbean Cruises is increasing liquidity in order to compensate for the detrimental effects of the coronavirus scare and has retracted its previously-released 2020 guidance. — Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer

Royal Caribbean Cruises today announced that, due to the spread and recent developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company has increased its revolving credit capacity by $550 million, bolstering the company’s liquidity.

The company is pursuing additional actions to improve its liquidity by reducing capital expenditures, operating expenses and taking other actions to improve liquidity by at least a further $1.7 billion in 2020. The company is also planning reductions to the 2021 capital expenditures and operating expenses.

The company had previously communicated that its 2020 guidance did not include the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Given the recent government actions and the heightened impact and uncertainty of changes in the magnitude, duration and geographic reach of COVID-19, the company is withdrawing its first quarter and full-year 2020 guidance.

“These are extraordinary times and we are taking these steps to manage the company prudently and conservatively,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. “I am proud of the work our teams are doing to address this unprecedented situation.”

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SOURCE: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. press release.

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