December 30. Royal Caribbean Group (RCL.N) 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 fast-spreading Omicron variant.
U.S. cruise ships have been gradually returning to the seas since late June, but an increase in Omicron cases has sparked calls for a temporary ban on cruising, including from Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat.
Since the Celebrity Cruises parent resumed operations from U.S. ports in June, the company’s cruise ships have ferried 1.1 million passengers, with 1,745 people testing positive for COVID-19 and 41 being hospitalized.
The company said load factors for sailings in the first half of 2022 remain below historical levels, although it said the recent disruption was not as severe as that experienced during the Delta variant wave earlier this year.