Published on Monday, December 21, 2009

Carnival Corp. hails European cruise brands


European cruise brands have been the star performers as Carnival Corporation was buffeted by the worst economic conditions in its history.
The world’s largest cruise conglomerate reported annual net profits for the year to November down to $1.8 billion from $2.3 billion the previous 12 months.
This still made P&O Cruises, Cunard and Costa parent the world’s most profitable leisure travel company.
Revenue yields for North American brands fell by 13% while European brands saw a more modest decline of six per cent.
Chairman and CEO Micky Arison said: “Despite an eight per cent capacity increase, the stronger performance of our European brands in this economic environment reinforces our strategy to expand our European presence, which will continue in 2010 with four of six newbuilds scheduled for our European brands.”
He added: “During the fourth quarter we placed our first new ship order in two years which demonstrates our continued confidence in the future of our industry.”
The company reported fourth quarter net profits down from $371 million to $193 million on revenues almost static at $3.2 billion.
Carnival made savings amounting to $170 million in the full year through “effective global cost containment initiatives”.
The organisation said forward bookings continue to be strong with occupancy levels for 2010 in line with this time last year, although cumulative pricing is “slightly behind”.
Arison said: “We are optimistic that the attractive pricing we have in the marketplace and pent-up demand for vacation travel will continue to stimulate strong booking volumes and lead to a solid wave season.
“We remain focused on cost controls and expect to reduce non-fuel costs on a per unit basis in 2010. Our lean and efficient operating structure leaves us well positioned as the global economy recovers.”
The company introduces 2,192-passenger AIDAblu for Germany line AIDA Cruises and 2,260-passenger Costa Deliziosa for Costa Cruises in the first quarter of 2010.
by Phil Davies 

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