FORT LAUDERDALE — At the Seatrade Cruise Global conference on Tuesday, the cruise industry’s dedication to reduce carbon emissions was a main topic.
But Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio countered that the industry is spending too much time focused on sustainability and cast doubt that the industry will reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“I think we’re caught up in the narrative that the world wants to be green and blue, and so do I, but we don’t talk about the customer anymore. So far, we’ve been here an hour and no one has mentioned the C-word. The customer,” he said during the State of the Global Cruise Industry panel discussion with fellow CEOs.
Craighead told the audience about CLIA’s visions for net-zero carbon emissions includes investment and persistence while waiting for sustainable fuels to be available in quantities cruise lines can rely on.
Del Rio’s comments came after MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and CLIA CEO Kelly Craighead told the audience about CLIA’s vision for net-zero carbon emissions that include investment and persistence while waiting for sustainable fuels to be available in quantities cruise lines can rely on.
“We need to sing from the same songbook,” said Craighead, urging the audience members to advocate for regulations that support cruise lines as cities and governments set regulations and rethink what role they want cruising to play in their communities.
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Del Rio, who is retiring in June, said the industry should be careful “not to get sucked away” by the agendas of governments, agencies and non-governmental organizations setting environmental regulations and cast doubt that the industry will hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, a timeline CLIA has committed to.
“I know that the purpose of the cruise industry is to provide great vacations for customers, and I don’t think that we talk enough about it because we’ve been carried away by this narrative about sustainability and renewables and green and blue and everything else, and I think it’s time to be more balanced. Let’s not forget about fuels, but let’s not forget about what the real purpose of our business is,” he said.
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