Key takeaways from the Norwegian CEO’s court statement in the Florida lawsuit

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank Del Rio has filed a statement in court in connection with the company’s lawsuit against Florida State Surgeon General over vaccination regulations.

In nine pages, Del Rio goes into detail about restarting the company, undertaking 100 percent vaccinated trips, various challenges, and the hurdles the state of Florida has put before them by fining any company that requires proof of vaccination.

Key takeaways from the Del Rio court statement:

  • Norwegian Gem, which departs from Florida on August 15, currently has 1,265 guests booked for its Caribbean route. The ship is said to have a double occupancy of 2,400 guests at 100 percent, which means that the initial load factor would be around 53 percent.
  • Norwegian’s voluntary shutdown due to the March 2020 pandemic has cost the company more than $ 6 billion to date. Del Rio estimates that Florida state employees and businesses lost approximately $ 2 billion in spending due to Norwegian ceasing to operate in 2020. Norwegian has increased its liquidity to over $ 7.5 billion through several historic capital market transactions.
  • Under the Florida ban, Norwegian will be forced to change or cancel Norwegian Gem’s itinerary as their itineraries depart from Miami, Florida and their passengers expect 100 percent vaccination of passengers and crew on board.
  • The cancellation could cost Norwegian about $ 4 million in lost revenue per seven-day cruise and likely cost the broader cruise ecosystem that Norwegian Gem supports in sailing hundreds of thousands of dollars per cruise. Those losses will only get bigger over time as Norwegian 15 Ships subsidiaries plan to embark guests in Florida in the upcoming fall and winter seasons, he said.
  • Norwegian has concluded that the most effective way to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew is to require everyone on board to be fully vaccinated while cruising. Various third-party industry surveys also show that a large majority of Norwegian cruise ship passengers prefer fully vaccinated trips.
  • Del Rio attributed the demand for Norwegian cruises in large part to its 100% vaccination plan. Del Rio noted that if Norwegian fails to verify vaccination status, its ability to attract and insure its passengers will be severely undermined. In addition, full vaccination for 100 percent of passengers and crew is in line with the vaccination protocols of many foreign ports that Norwegian ships are supposed to call at.
  • Norwegian has certified to the CDC, under the threat of criminal penalties, that at least 95 percent of passengers and 95 percent of the crew will be “confirmed fully vaccinated before sailing” on their upcoming cruise. Norwegian planned – and continues to plan – to “confirm” the COVID-19 vaccination status of passengers and crew through documentation which, according to Del Rio, is “the only reliable method of confirming vaccination status in this context”.
  • Del Rio said it was “irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful to our brand” to deviate from its 100 percent vaccination approach to make Florida homeports viable.
  • The Florida ban may also result in a loss or reduction in employment for Norwegian’s contract workers at the PortMiami terminal (well over 100 on a turnaround day), as well as transit and hospitality workers in the area, according to Del Rio.
  • The crew on their ships, around 1,800 per voyage, could also be at risk of unemployment if Norwegian cannot resume and maintain operations as currently planned. The loss of revenue caused by the ban in calendar year 2021 could exceed $ 100 million and could also result in a loss or reduction in employment for Norwegian workers in South Florida.



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