Carnival Says Cruise Bookings Accelerate on Pent-up Demand
Carnival Corp said on Wednesday booking volumes for cruises increased in its first quarter, as pent-up demand for global travel offers hope of a turnaround for a sector decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s shares rose 4.6% to $29.91 as investors looked past a quarterly loss of nearly $2 billion.
The rapid global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines could jump-start the cruise industry, analysts have said, after a year without sailings virtually halted the business and pushed some companies to the brink of collapse.
However, cruise ships in the United States remain under a “no-sail order”, and Carnival has said guidelines on how voyages could resume, which include ensuring all passengers are vaccinated, are “largely unworkable”.
Carnival said bookings during the first quarter ended February 28 were about 90% higher than volumes during the fourth quarter of 2020. Advance bookings for 2022 are stronger than they had been for 2019, the company said.
Carnival ended the first quarter with $11.5 billion in cash and short-term investments, and said it expected to burn cash at an average of $550 million per month in the first half of 2021.
(Reporting by Uday Sampath; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Sriraj Kalluvila)