Royal Caribbean 1997 Q1 Earnings

Royal Caribbean Cruises has reported net income of $38.5 million, or $0.58 per share, on revenues of $394.6 million for its first quarter, ended March 31, 1997, compared to net income of $32.8 million, or $0.52 per share, on revenues of $317.6 million for the same quarter last year.

The increased revenues were attributed to the increased capacity provided by the introduction of the 1,800-passenger Splendour of the Seas and the 1,950-passenger Grandeur of the Seas in the second and fourth quarters of 1996, respectively.

The yield improvement was a result of higher per diems and occupancy levels, according to Royal Caribbean. Occupancy for the first quarter of 1997 was 103.4 percent compared to 101.6 percent for the same period last year.

At press time Royal Caribbean's common shares traded for $31 3/4 (NYSE) compared to a 52-week high/low of $32 7/8- $22 7/8.

Royal Caribbean's convertible preferred stocks, which were issued this February, traded for $57 5/8 at press time, compared to a high/low of $58 3/8 - $51 3/8.

Royal Caribbean also took delivery of its newest ship, the 75,000-ton, 2,000-passenger Rhapsody of the Seas from Chantiers de l'Atlantique on April 22, but had to return the ship to the yard after sailing only 25 miles out to sea, when one of the electric propulsion motors from Cegelec overheated. (This is proven equipment that is being used in a number of ships without incident.)

At press time RCI, Chantiers and Cegelec engineers were still assessing the damage and the repair. However, a spokesperson said that the ship would keep to its maiden voyage out of Los Angeles on May 19 and that it also expected to carry out some of the pre-inaugural festivities, most of which have been cancelled.

The naming ceremony is slated to take place in Los Angeles on June 3 when the Rhapsody of the Seas will be named by Bodil Gannann Wilhelmsen, wife of Gjert Wilhelmsen, one of the principal shareholders and member of the one of the company's founding families.

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