A week after announcing that health and safety changes planned for the post-COVID cruises included eliminating traditional buffets, RCI-Royal Caribbean International seems to be backpedaling from the statement.
Michael Bayley (RCI's President and CEO) previously said that buffets will have to be temporarily removed from cruise ships to avoid concerns about spreading illnesses. Bayley said he thought that in the beginning, there would not be a buffet and they would utilize The Windjammer (Lido restaurant), but most probably, it would not be a classical buffet but "something more akin to a restaurant.”
However, Richard Fain (RCCL-Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd''s / parent company's Chairman and CEO) indicated that “some of the press” were suggesting the buffet would “go from one thing that we’ve had for decades and suddenly morph into something very different.” He added that when it came to venues where “everybody reaches in and everybody touches the same tongs,” that was something “you’re not going to see on land or sea.”
"It doesn’t mean that you don’t have a buffet. You might have it where all of that is served to you by other people. And there [are] other possibilities. But the point is that it will evolve.”
The likely removal of traditional buffet dining on cruise ships is the latest in a line of safety measures to ensure the company will be able to operate when the CDC lifts its no-sail order. RCI is also working with the CDC on enhanced measures to protect onboard safety, security and health of crew and passengers, and also of the visited cruise port communities.
In April, RCCL patented its own branded version of a face mask (dubbed Seaface) to protect employees and passengers fleetwide (on all RCCL-owned brands).