Carnival Upbeat For 2015 After Strong Q1 Results

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Carnival Corp. gave an upbeat outlook for 2015 Friday after the cruise giant topped Q1 earnings expectations. Miami-based Carnival's Q1 adjusted earnings of $159 million, or 20 cents a share, reversed a net loss of $3 million in the prior-year quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings of just 10 cents a share.

Carnival Corp. says cumulative advance bookings for the remainder of the year are ahead of 2014's pace -- and at higher prices.

"The year is off to a strong start achieving significantly higher earnings than the prior year and our previous guidance," said CEO Arnold Donald in a statement. "Our onboard revenue initiatives drove particularly strong improvement in the first quarter with onboard yields more than 8% higher than prior year (constant dollar)."

The lower cost of fuel played a significant role in the Carnival improvement, along with favourable exchange rates. Carnival said Q1 gross cruise costs including fuel declined 9.6% in current dollars.

It was a big week for Carnival. Just the day before reporting its positive results, Carnival Corp. announced orders that will add 9 new vessels to its 101-ship fleet over a four-year period from 2019 to 2022.

The company noted that it also has "an ongoing program to further elevate guest experience across the company's existing fleet and nine brands."

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