Carnival posts smaller loss, beats revenue estimates on steady cruising demand

(Reuters) -Carnival on Thursday posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss while beating estimates for revenue, as demand remained steady, giving cruise operators enough room to bump up ticket prices.

The company’s shares, which have more than doubled so far this year, rose about 5% in early trading, after Carnival also estimated its first-quarter core earnings to more than double, compared with a year earlier.

Despite a rise in prices, cruises remain a cheaper option than most land-based vacations, especially to exotic locations, broadening their appeal among younger travelers choosing to spend their disposable income on a novel experience.

Carnival said that booking volumes for the two weeks around Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit an all-time high.

“We entered the year with the best booked position we have ever seen, and now have nearly two-thirds of our occupancy already on the books for 2024, at considerably higher prices,” CEO Josh Weinstein said in a statement.

The company said it expected net yields in the first quarter, or the revenue per passenger per cruise day, excluding costs, to be up 16.5% year-on-year.

The company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $48 million, or 4 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.6 billion, or $1.27 per share, a year earlier. Analysts were estimating a loss of 13 cents, according to LSEG data.

The company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $5.4 billion, topping market expectations of $5.31 billion.

(Reporting by Juveria Tabassum; Editing by Anil D’Silva)