From The Newsletter 2/2/09
Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) earnings guidance for 2009 is for full year earnings of around $1.40 per share, compared to actual earnings of $2.68 for 2008, $2.82 for 2007, $2.94 for 2006 and $3.26 for 2005.
Looking forward, the revenue outlook for 2009 remains weak, RCL said in a prepared statement. "Both ticket sales and onboard revenue have been impacted by the general economic conditions. It has required substantial discounts to generate the requisite volume, and consumers are making their vacation decisions later than previously."
The market reacted by sending RCL shares sharply downward.
Filling the Ships
"We are filling the ships, although not quite with the yields we would like. But consumers are recognizing the value, and we are doing OK," said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and trade support for Royal Caribbean International. Freed spoke to Cruise Industry News in conjunction with the Association of Travel Marketing Executives ' Travel Industry Forecast meeting in New York.
Travelzoo can help generate incremental travel sales by putting price points in front of consumers that they must react to immediately, according to Shirley Tafoya, president of Travelzoo. "If you put the right price point in front of consumers, you will get them to move," she said.
According to cruise line executives surveyed by Cruise Industry News, there may be some significant ship movements in 2010, pending how 2009 works out. More ships are expected back to the Caribbean. Meanwhile, some changes are already taking place. Royal Caribbean International is reducing its 2010 Alaska capacity from three to two ships, and Carnival Cruise Lines has deferred some longer, nine-day cruises to from 2009 to 2010.
While cruise bookings seem to be recovering, pricing is lagging, and more travel agents are asking for help from the cruise lines to stay in business.
NCL's Norwegian Epic is a name that "tells the story of an exciting project (and) the largest ship our company has ever built," said Andy Stuart, vice president for global sales and passenger services.
The 150,000-ton, 4,200-passenger ship will homeport in Miami, where she will sail alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises year-round, beginning summer 2010.