Carnival Corporation has seen “accelerating” bookings for its brands during the first three months of 2021, illustrating the “significant pent-up demand” for cruising.
The cruise giant, which owns nine brands including P&O Cruises, Princess and Cunard, said booking volumes during the first quarter of the year were 90% higher than during the final three months of 2020.
While Carnival Corp’s total advanced bookings for 2022 were already ahead of a “very strong 2019, despite minimal advertising or marketing”.
Carnival Corporation chief executive Arnold Donald said the acceleration in bookings reflected “both the significant pent-up demand and long-term potential for cruising”.
Six of the company’s brands are due to resume “limited” cruise operations using nine ships by summer 2021, including P&O, Princess and Cunard, which will be sailing itineraries around the UK from June (P&O) and July (Princess and Cunard). While Seabourn will be operating cruises from Greece this summer.
“We are focused on resuming operations as quickly as practical, while at the same time demonstrating prudent stewardship of capital and doing so in a way that serves the best interests of public health,” said Donald.
Carnival said its monthly “cash burn” was $500 million on average for the first quarter of 2021 which was “better than expected”. This figure is set to rise to an average of $550 million per month for the first half of the year as lines prepare to restart cruises.
“Throughout the pause we have been positioning Carnival Corporation to return to serving guests an operationally stronger company than we were before,” said Donald.
“With an exciting roster of six new, more efficient ships by December and with lower capacity from the exit of 19 less efficient ships, we expect to capitalise on pent-up demand and achieve significant cost improvement from the greater efficiency of our fleet, along with ongoing streamlining of shoreside operations.”