December 30, 2021
(Reuters) – Royal Caribbean Group said on Thursday it was grappling with a drop in bookings and a rise in cancellations as COVID-19 cases surge in the United States, driven by the Omicron variant.
Still, the cruise operator said the disruption was not as severe as that experienced during the Delta variant wave earlier this year.
Since Royal Caribbean restarted its U.S. cruise operations in June, the company’s cruise lines have ferried 1.1 million passengers, with 1,745 people testing positive for COVID-19 and 41 being hospitalized.
“Our case count has spiked, but the level of severity is significantly milder,” Royal Caribbean’s chief medical officer, Calvin Johnson, said.
The company said while sailings for the second half of 2022 continue to be booked within historical ranges, load factors in the first half of 2022 remain below historical levels.
Royal Caribbean also said it was experiencing service disruptions at some destinations and to date had canceled or “significantly modified” 16 destination calls out of 331.
Shares of the company rose nearly 2% in early morning trade.
(Reporting by Deborah Sophia in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)