Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL; Oslo) today announced earnings for the fourth quarter and full year of 2009 and provided guidance for 2010.

Key Highlights

Fourth quarter 2009 net income increased to $3.4 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to net income of $1.5 million, or $0.01 per share in 2008. The results were better than the company's previous guidance of a loss of approximately ($0.05) per share due to stronger than expected revenues and continued good cost discipline.

Net Yields for the fourth quarter decreased 7.2% as compared to 2008 and guidance of a 7% to 8% decline.

Net Cruise Costs per APCD ("NCC") for the fourth quarter decreased 10.5% versus 2008. NCC excluding fuel for the fourth quarter declined 8.8% versus 2008.

For the full year 2009, Net Yields declined 14.2%; NCC excluding fuel declined 7.0%; and earnings per share were $0.75.

The company noted an improving booking environment and expects Net Yields for 2010 to improve 3% to 6% versus 2009. First quarter 2010 Net Yields are expected to improve approximately 2%.
NCC excluding fuel are expected to be flat to slightly up for the full year of 2010 and up around 1% in the first quarter. After adjusting for changes in currency, NCC excluding fuel are forecasted to be flat to down slightly for the first quarter and the full year.

EPS for the year (assuming current fuel prices) is expected to be in the range of $2.00 to $2.20 including $0.39 related to a legal settlement. The first quarter EPS is expected to be in the range of $0.25 to $0.30.

"Good cost discipline and better than expected revenues have enabled us to end 2009 on a decidedly upbeat note," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "We're happy to say goodbye to 2009 and pleased to embark on 2010 with an outlook of solid yield improvement, strong cost controls and improving returns to our shareholders." Fain continued, "We are also benefiting from the terrific success of our latest Oasis- and Solstice-class vessels. These ships are generating very healthy returns due to high guest satisfaction, excellent revenues and lower operating costs."

Fourth Quarter 2009 Results

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced net income for the fourth quarter 2009 of $3.4 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to net income of $1.5 million, or $0.01 per share, in 2008.

Revenues were unchanged year over year at $1.5 billion for the fourth quarter of both 2009 and 2008. Net Yields decreased 7.2% from the prior year or 9.7% after adjusting for year over year changes in currency. Net Yields were at the upper end of previous guidance due to strength in both ticket and onboard revenues.

NCC decreased 10.5% from the prior year or 12.4% after adjusting for changes in currency. NCC excluding fuel, declined 8.8% from the prior year or 11.2% after adjusting for changes in currency.

Fuel costs were $5.0 million higher than the company's previous calculations. Fourth quarter pricing averaged $500 per metric ton and consumption was 325.2 thousand metric tons.

Full Year 2009 Results

Net income for the full year 2009 was $162.4 million, or $0.75 per share, compared to net income of $573.7 million, or $2.68 per share, for the full year 2008. Revenues for the full year 2009 declined to $5.9 billion from revenues of $6.5 billion for the full year 2008. Fuel costs per metric ton decreased 18% to $486 for the full year and consumption was 1,235,000 metric tons. Fuel expenses for the year would have been higher if not for a 3.7% consumption improvement per APCD during 2009. Since 2005 the company has reduced energy consumption per APCD by 11%.