ST. LOUIS — Arnold Donald, the former Monsanto Co. executive who is president and CEO of cruise operator Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL), said he is optimistic that U.S. cruises will resume soon.
“We are optimistic that we could be sailing before year end,” Donald said on CNBC Thursday. “At this time it looks very promising.”
Cruising was shut down by the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first banned cruises until late July, then Sept. 30 and then to at least Oct. 31.
The resumption process is complex, Donald said. Cruise lines are working with the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, the states and municipalities involved, as well as the destinations.
The shutdown has been financially devastating. Carnival reported a 99.5% drop in revenue in the third quarter, to $31 million from $6.53 billion in the same quarter last year. Adjusted net income for the quarter fell to a loss of $1.7 billion from a profit of $1.82 billion in the third quarter of 2019.
Limited cruises have begun in Europe with extensive mitigation protocols and operating procedures, Donald said, and though passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 and have had to be isolated, “the guests are happy and things have gone reasonably well.”
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