Friday, 25 April 2014

Royal Outlook Improves

Post-Wave bookings on a tear, says Royal Caribbean chairman

By Tom Stieghorst
Allure of the SeasRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reported an unusual surge in bookings in from mid-February to mid-April, a stretch when the booking pace typically decelerates.

Company chairman Richard Fain said that while the Wave season had been merely “typical,” which was slightly concerning, bookings in the past eight weeks were up more than 20%, driven by promotions.

“The volumes have just been unprecedented,” for a period in which the booking pace usually slackens, Fain said in a conference call with Wall Street analysts on Thursday.

He said promotions such as Royal Caribbean International’s Kids Sail Free and Celebrity Cruises’ 123Go had allowed RCCL to make up most of the booking deficit it had going into the last week of February.

Although occupancy levels are surging, pricing remains lower than a year ago. Fain also said “quality demand” in regions outside the Caribbean is contributing to the surge.

RCCL profit falls 65%, but outlook improves

By Tom Stieghorst
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. raised its 2014 earnings guidance by a nickel a share despite reporting lower earnings for the first quarter.

Net income was $26.5 million, or 12 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, down from $76.2 million, or 35 cents per share, in 2013.

But Royal Caribbean said booking volume for the past three months have risen 16% year-over-year, with bookings for the past 8 weeks up by more than 20%, stronger than typical post-Wave periods.

The company raised its profit forecast by 5 cents a share, or about $11 million, to between $719.2 million and $763.5 million.

"Despite pressures in the Caribbean, the diversity provided by our global footprint is proving its value," CFO Jason Liberty said.

In 2013, Royal Caribbean earned $473.7 million.