Powerhouse cruise operator Carnival Corp. says it’s already booked more cruises for the first half of 2022 than it did in 2019, possibly signaling a brighter horizon for the industry.
CFO David Bernstein shared the news during a fourth quarter earnings call on Monday, explaining why things are looking up.
“At this point in time, our cumulative advance bookings for the second half of 2021 are within the historical range. Even better, our cumulative advance bookings for the first half of 2022 are ahead of a very strong 2019,” Bernstein said, according to The Motley Fool.
CEO Arnold Donald described demand as “robust” even before the coronavirus vaccine was announced, “with minimal advertising and marketing.”
“The forward booking trends we have consistently experienced throughout this period in spite of the extended pause in our operations, in spite of our minimal advertising efforts and even in spite of the abundance of negative global news affirm the underlying demand that will facilitate our staggered resumption,” Donald said. “And, we have not only seen tremendous support for our brands from our loyal guests, it is also very encouraging to see demand from new guests.”
“Upon resuming service, we believe we are well positioned to optimize that pent-up demand for our leading brands around the world,” he added.
The world’s largest cruise company operates nine lines – Carnival Cruise Line, Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, AIDA, Costa, P&O Cruises U.K. and P&O Cruises Australia.
Travel Weekly reports that Carnival lost $1.9 billion during the fourth quarter of 2020 – compared to a $423 net income during the fourth quarter of 2019.
Despite a future of uncertainty, the CEO says the company has the funds to stay afloat and remains hopeful that the entire fleet will be able to set sail by year’s end.
“We ended the year with $9.5 billion in cash and we have the liquidity in place to sustain ourselves throughout 2021 even in a zero revenue environment,” Donald revealed, later adding that Carnival hopes all of its ships will be “operational” by the end of 2021.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Carnival Corp. shared the following statement with Fox News on Wednesday:
“There is growing pent-up demand for cruising,” they said of the 2022 booking trend. “We have been coordinating with top scientists and medical experts over the past several months, as well as other health officials, to create enhanced safety and health protocols our ships, plus there is excitement and enthusiasm around our new ships, such as Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras.”
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