Carnival Corporation & plc announced non-GAAP net income of $2 million, or $0.00 diluted EPS for the first quarter of 2014 compared to non-GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2013 of $67 million, or $0.08 diluted EPS.

For the first quarter of 2014, U.S. GAAP net loss, which included net unrealized losses on fuel derivatives of $17 million, was $15 million, or $0.02 diluted loss per share.

For the first quarter of 2013, U.S. GAAP net income was $37 million, or $0.05 diluted earnings per share.  Revenues for the first quarter of 2014 were $3.6 billion in line with the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted that first quarter non-GAAP earnings were better than anticipated in the company's December guidance due to better than expected ticket prices for Carnival Cruise Lines and our continental European brands, as well as the timing of certain expenses.

Donald noted, "We see progress with our continental European brands and continue to be pleased with Carnival Cruise Lines' pace of improvement. Exciting product innovations and strategic marketing initiatives at Carnival Cruise Lines have driven strong close-in demand resulting in sequential improvement in year-over-year quarterly ticket prices for the brand."

During the quarter, Carnival Cruise Lines announced an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to bring the beloved children's brand and favorite characters to its fleet and the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, which brings the best in live music to the seas with a diverse roster of popular music artists including Jennifer Hudson, Lady Antebellum and Jewel. 

These brand building initiatives complement the continued roll-out of its Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program, as well as ongoing travel agent outreach and the unprecedented Great Vacation Guarantee. In addition, Carnival Cruise Lines was the national cruise line advertiser of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, with its creative "Bobslide" campaign which targeted the family segment and furthered the brand's new marketing campaign launched last fall.

Key metrics for the first quarter 2014 compared to first quarter 2013 and December guidance were as follows:

On a constant dollar basis, net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") decreased 2.1 percent for 1Q 2014. Gross revenue yields decreased 1.9 percent in current dollars.

Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 3.3 percent in constant dollars driven by higher advertising spend. Costs were better than December guidance, up 4.5 to 5.5 percent primarily due to the timing of certain expenses. Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD in current dollars were flat.                  

Fuel prices declined 3.4 percent to $654 per metric ton for 1Q 2014 from $677 per metric ton in 1Q 2013 but were higher than December guidance of $643 per metric ton.

Fuel consumption per ALBD decreased 4.8 percent in 1Q 2014 compared to the prior year.

2014 Outlook

Since January, booking volumes for the remainder of the year are running well ahead of last year at lower prices. At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the remainder of 2014 are ahead of the prior year at prices below prior year levels.

Donald noted, "We have experienced a solid wave season, with booking volumes up almost 20 percent globally surpassing last year's cumulative advance booking levels, albeit at lower prices. Many guests are booking further in advance, which increases visibility and builds confidence that yield comparisons will turn positive in the second half of 2014. Increased interest across our brands is an encouraging indication that our message is resonating as consumers recognize the strong value proposition and exceptional vacation experiences we provide."

The company continues to expect full year 2014 net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to be down slightly compared to the prior year (in line with the prior year on a current dollar basis).  The company also continues to expect net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for full year 2014 to be slightly higher than the prior year on a constant dollar basis.

Taking the above factors into consideration, the company forecasts full year 2014 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $1.50 to $1.70, compared to 2013 non-GAAP diluted earnings of $1.58 per share.

Looking forward, Donald stated, "We are on the path toward improved financial performance. We are working hard to maintain the momentum with additional product initiatives, continuous improvement in our already high guest satisfaction levels and greater utilization of our global scale."

Second Quarter 2014 Outlook

Second quarter constant dollar net revenue yields are expected to decrease 3 to 4 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the second quarter are expected to be up 2.5 to 3.5 percent on a constant dollar basis compared to the prior year due primarily to higher selling and administrative costs.    

Based on the above factors, the company expects non-GAAP diluted earnings (loss) for the second quarter 2014 to be in the range of $(0.02) to $0.02 per share versus 2013 non-GAAP earnings of $0.07 per share.