Going into 2013, it is the U.S. and the Caribbean that will be the main drivers for Royal Caribbean Cruises, according to today’s earnings call.

Fleetwide, Caribbean capacity will be up 4 percent year-over-year, representing 44 percent of total capacity. Europe will see a 10 percent reduction to 27 percent of total capacity, and Asia will see a corresponding build up, with a 45 percent increase year-over-year, according to Brian Rice, executive vice president and CFO.

Rice said that U.S. passenger sourcing is up significantly, while Asia and Australia are keeping pace with the capacity increases, although there is some pricing pressure Down Under.
Alaska is seeing a 4 percent increase year-over year. Early bookings are looking good with load factors and pricing is up from last year.

In Europe, booked load factors so far are similar to last year, with 50 percent of the inventory sold at this point, although there are signs of weakness in the key European markets, including the UK, with Spain being described as “grim.”

Rice said that Europe will be the swing factor that could affect the company’s earnings forecast either way.