"First of all, there's no recession. We're past that, I hope. And the thing to understand, unlike the hotel industry, the airline industry, our ships run full and they run full all the time," he said. "So if you've got full ships all the time and you can finance the brand new ones at interest rates of less than 3 percent over 12-years fixed ... You'd order more ships."
The future for Norwegian Cruise is looking bright because customers are booking as far as eight months out, Del Rio said. He pointed out that 65 percent of 2019 inventory was sold at the the turn of the year and 35 percent of 2020 inventory in some brands has been booked. Cash flow is "off the charts" and is the most "misunderstood variable in this whole equation," he added.
Norwegian Cruise is also refocusing on Turkey where trips were cut due to geopolitical events in 2016, Del Rio said. The cruise line has a dozen planned sailings to the country, set to increase to 20 next year, he said.
Itineraries that include Turkey have been selling fast and at higher prices, he said.
"So the good news is that Americans are willing to go back to Turkey," Del Rio said.