Fewer geopolitical events and stable air pricing have contributed to a surge in demand for European cruising by North Americans, says Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CFO Jason Liberty.
"North American guests will account for a larger percentage of Europe itinerary sourcing than in any other recent year," Liberty said.
That’s a bottom-line positive, thanks to the fact that Americans and Canadians spend more, both upfront for tickets and onboard for activities.
Liberty adds that the strength in demand seen from U.S. and Canadian market sources has been "unwavering" for sales on both sides of the Atlantic. "We have seen particularly strong trends on European sailings, both in the Mediterranean and in the Baltics," said Liberty.
It’s not just Europe, though. The Caribbean, close to half of Royal Caribbean's capacity, remains up year over year in both rate and load factors. Liberty says Alaska continues to outperform last year's record season.
Over the past three months, new bookings for RCL have been up double digits compared to last year, and at higher prices, Liberty says.
And people are booking further out: for 2018 bookings to date, RCL is running ahead of this time period last year in both rates and occupancy.