Arne Wilhelmsen, a founder of Royal Caribbean Cruises and a veteran member of its board of directors, has died at age 90, according to a company statement. “At a time when the rest of the world thought cruising was a niche use for old transatlantic liners, Arne was already seeing glimmers of the growth that was possible,” said the company’s Chief Executive Officer Richard Fain. “He had a vision of the modern cruise industry when the ‘industry’ might have been a dozen used ships, total.” The company said he died on Saturday in Palma, Spain, but did not provide a cause of death. Wilhelmsen, a pioneer of the cruise industry, founded Royal Caribbean in 1968 along with his family’s shipping company, Anders Wilhelmsen & Co AS.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a no-sail order for cruise ships last week due to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has caused deadly outbreaks on several cruise ships, which prompted the government to halt cruise line operations.