Despite facing unprecedented hardship amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald is expressing optimism about the future of his company and the cruise industry as a whole.
In an appearance on CNBC's Closing Bell on Tuesday, Donald called Carnival's 2021 bookings "strong."
"It's been devastating temporarily...Travel is going to return, travel and leisure, and when it does, we'll return with it," he told CNBC. "Social gathering at some point will return, and when it does, people will want to cruise," Donald added. "We've had substantial bookings. Bookings for 2021 are strong."
It's been one month since cruise lines around the world began temporarily suspending operations to slow the spread of COVID-19. Carnival's Diamond Princess was one of several cruise ships that experienced outbreaks earlier this year.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its no-sail order for all cruise ships for 100 days or until the pandemic is deemed to be over. Cruise lines, which weren't included in the $2 trillion stimulus package for COVID-19 relief, have responded by extending the suspension of operations into the summer. Carnival has suspended all cruising through June 26 as it continues to work to find funding.
"We have found a way to secure financing. It was costly. It was expensive, but our job is to make sure the company can survive even if there is an extended pause." Donald told CNBC, adding that the company continues to seek additional financing from "Germany, the U.K., Italy and elsewhere."
While there's no clear timetable on when cruises might resume, in the meantime, Carnival and other companies are offering would-be passengers virtual cruises that they can experience from home.
Topics From This Article to Explore