Frank Del Rio says it's 'shameful' that Florida dispute ended up in court

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio called it “shameful” that the company had to fight Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in court for the right to require that passengers are vaccinated for Covid-19. 

A Yahoo Business reporter asked Del Rio in an interview if he found it “bizarre” that NCLH had to sue that state to be able to require passengers to show proof of vaccination and “keep people healthy on your ships.” 

“It’s beyond bizarre,” Del Rio said. “It’s shameful. Here is a state that relies on tourism as its number one industry. And the number one priority of any hospitality business is to keep their customers safe. I mean, that’s de rigueur. And you would expect that government, again, would do everything possible to support that. Instead, we had to go to court.”

Del Rio also called out Florida for filing a notice to appeal NCLH’s victory in the case, given the state’s record-breaking Covid cases.   

“This is a pandemic we’re talking about,” he said. “People are dying every day. Florida now is the epicenter of the epicenter. What’s it take for common sense to rule? What does it take?”

The Norwegian Gem was able to depart Miami on Aug. 15 with a 100% vaccination rate because of the ruling. 

Del Rio also said during the interview that the delta variant surge was causing some customers to cancel.

“Yes, yes. There’s no hiding about it. The spread of the Delta variant has got consumer confidence lower,” he said. “We saw last week’s report. Consumer confidence dropped about 15% from 80 something to 70. And so yes, people react to the current events.”

Del Rio mentioned the delta variant during NCLH’s second quarter earnings call, when he said that the company had seen “a modest decrease in our net new booking activity during the month of July when the delta variant had surfaced.” 

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