Richard Fain has been at the helm of Royal Caribbean Cruises since 1988, a remarkably long tenure for a CEO. During this time, the 72-year-old dean of the industry’s chiefs has faced challenges from recessions to public-relations fiascoes.
The coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down the company’s global fleet of cruise ships since mid-March, has been a test like no other. The company estimated that it’s burning roughly $250 million to $275 million of cash each month, excluding refunds of deposits for canceled voyages as its ships sit idle. Royal Caribbean (ticker: RCL) common shares have lost about two-thirds of their value this year.
It remains unclear when voyages will resume for Royal Caribbean, the second-largest U.S. cruise company, and its peers. Fain spoke with Barron’s this week about how the company has been weathering the crisis and his hopes for how a reopening would unfold. Here is an edited version of our conversation.