With all cruise line stocks languishing in recent weeks, it was important that Norwegian Cruise Line CEO/President Frank Del Rio not only deliver a strong, positive report on NCLH first quarter business, but on the business outlook as well. On Tuesday morning's Q1 2018 earnings call, that's what he did.
Del Rio highlighted a strong Wave Season, and NCLH's increased outlook for the second half of the year. And after a report on the introduction of Norwegian Bliss, he dove right into the heart of the matter: the state of business now and looking ahead, particularly in the Caribbean.
"After entering this year's Wave Season with the highest load factors and highest pricing in the company's history, the sustained strength in global demand that we have come to expect across our three brands is continuing," said Del Rio.
He continued that not only is Norwegian Bliss the best booked new-build in NCL history, but that pricing and occupancy for the balance of 2018 and 2019 continue to be "meaningfully ahead of same time last year." This is true across all three brands, he said: NCL, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas.
Even Caribbean and Bahamas sailings are showing year over year improvement in pricing and loads. "Of particular interest is our eastern Caribbean sailings which resume operations again in the fourth quarter after a hiatus in the second and third quarter. Bookings and pricing for fourth quarter 2018 and first half 2019 sailings and are better booked when compared to similar cruises during the same time last year."
Despite the strength of NCLH's report and Del Rio's presentation, NCLH stock closed the day down 3.4%.