Royal Caribbean Launches Branded Face Masks
Despite being early epicentres of Covid-19 transmission, the cruise industry has proved resilient, with sales for 2021 departures outpacing 2020 bookings by 40% (Cruise Compete, 2020). Now, Florida-based Royal Caribbean is launching its own line of face masks – a move that underlines the vast changes that await future passengers.
Royal Caribbean filed a patent in the US in early April for Seaface, which it describes as “sanitary masks for virus isolation purposes”. The cruise line hasn’t yet confirmed how they’d be used on its ships – for instance, would passengers be required to wear one? Will they be available for purchase? And are they reusable or disposable? However, it’s likely that face masks worn by passengers and staff will be a feature of future departures.
“This whole situation has made us as a cruise line take on a bunch of other innovations that we never thought we'd be in the business of taking on,” commented Laly Rodriguez, Royal Caribbean’s director of post-cruise guest relations and shared services.
Face masks aren’t the only step it’s taking to ensure safety. When service resumes, it will no longer operate buffets, but use these spaces for a low-touch restaurant (specifics are still being worked out). Given the notoriety of cruise line buffets as incubators of norovirus outbreaks, it’s a smart way to boost the industry’s general reputation for cleanliness.
As we explain in Covid-19 & Airlines, cleaning will need to become a new brand hallmark as companies seek to rebuild relations with anxious, hygiene-conscious travellers post-pandemic. Face masks, whether branded or not, are likely to be a requirement. While this might deter some rebellious individuals, developing branded ones is a clever move to signal on-board safety.