NCLH's Del Rio makes case for cruise restart on 'Mad Money'

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' Frank Del Rio speaking with Jim Cramer on CNBC's "Mad Money."
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' Frank Del Rio speaking with Jim Cramer on CNBC's "Mad Money."

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) was the S&P 500's strongest performer on April 5 after the company published a public plea to the CDC to drop the Conditional Sailing Order and allow it to sail starting July 4.

The request includes a health and safety plan that CEO Frank Del Rio, appearing on CNBC's "Mad Money" program, said was comprehensive, robust and has "as its cornerstone" the requirement that all crew and passengers be vaccinated.

NCLH's share price jumped more than 7% yesterday, after what "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer called a "spectacular six-month" run for the stock following lows last spring and summer. 

"They are basically daring the CDC to turn them down," Cramer said of NCLH's request to the CDC. 

Del Rio responded that he's not "daring the CDC to do anything," but does challenge them to come up with a reason the plan is not "the best way to come back and cruise again." 

"I challenge you to tell me of another venue anywhere that has this kind of ironclad health and safety protocol in place," he said. "Not a casino, not a hotel, not an airplane, not a theme park ... nowhere. Cruise ships will de facto become the safest place on earth."

Del Rio said he would not risk the safety and health of NCLH guests, crew or the communities the ships operate in. He is so confident in the safety of NCLH's return to service plan, he said that he would have onboard his 88-year-old mother who is in a wheelchair.  

When asked about not excluding children from the vaccination requirement, which other lines including Royal Caribbean Group's brands have done for its initial sailings, Del Rio said that "in order to create the confidence that all of us need -- the CDC, our past guests, our travel agent partners and all of us -- we want to start in the safest manner possible. And there is no loophole; everyone onboard has to be vaccinated."

Over time, he said, he expects to see the vaccination approved for children. 

"We don't want to have to dictate that everyone has to have a vaccine, but I think that is where society is going," he added. "The doctors, the scientist believe that vaccination is the game changer, and we agree. The CDC stated Friday that vaccinated travelers have a low risk. ... We want to be treated just like any other travel and tourism sector out there. And we've not been."

Norwegian Cruise Line today released a two-pronged return to service plan that will see three ships resuming service form the Caribbean and Europe along with a hopeful July 5 return to cruising in the U.S.


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