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Norwegian group reports final quarter loss as expenses soar

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which acquired Prestige cruise Holdings last year, has reported a final quarter loss on sharply increased operating costs.

The company reported a final quarter net loss of 25.6 million compared to a profit of $36.0 million in the same period in 2013, as cruise operating expenses increased by 24% to $518.6 million and other operating expenses doubled to $223.8 million. Revenues rose to 788.9 million from 600.3 million.

For the full year 2014, the group reported net profit of $338.5 million, markedly higher than the $101.7 million figure it reached in the year before. Revenues increased to 3.12 billion from $2.57 billion.

“Looking back at our accomplishments over the past year, it is clear that 2014 will be remembered as one of solid growth and game-changing expansion for the company,” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, said in a statement.

“Strong results are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team members who, despite operating in a challenging environment, kept a keen eye on optimizing pricing and managing expenses while delivering exceptional vacation experiences to our guests.”

Looking ahead, the acquisition of Prestige has created the cruise industry’s most dynamic and diversified operator, one that is well-positioned to realize meaningful synergies and deliver superior results. I look forward to leading this exciting organization, which mixes a deep history in the industry with an entrepreneurial spirit that is unique among cruise operators,” continued Del Rio.

Adjusted Net Revenue, for the period, which excludes the aforementioned deferred revenue fair value adjustment, increased 37.5% to $618.7 million on 23.8% growth in Capacity Days from the addition of Norwegian Getaway and the Prestige fleet as well as an 11.1% improvement in Adjusted Net Yield resulting from the addition of the Prestige fleet and a 3.9% increase on a Norwegian Stand-alone basis (4.5% on a Constant Currency basis).

On an as reported basis, Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day increased 3.5%. Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day increased 1.0% on a Norwegian Stand-alone basis (0.8% on a Constant Currency basis) due to investments in conjunction with the Norwegian NEXT program as well as increased marketing expenses to drive demand and stimulate close-in bookings in the fourth quarter and to carry momentum into Wave season.

TUI to become “a leading cruise operator in Europe in the foreseeable future”

TUI AG, the world’s largest tour operator, says it wants to integrate closer its German and British cruise operations, with an aim to become a leading operator in Europe.

“The goal is to expand TUI’s cruise activities so as to become a leading cruise operator in Europe in the foreseeable future,” the company said in a statement.

“The five ships of the Thomson Cruises fleet, operating in the British market, are to be completely modernised in the next few years. At the same time, Thomson Cruises is to cooperate more closely with TUI Cruises,” it said.

 TUI Cruises, which TUI AG owns jointly with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) is to continue its strong growth. The second newbuild of the fleet, Mein Schiff 4, will be commissioned in June.

“It has been announced that Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten is expected to break even in the current financial year 2014/15. The Group expects to be able to operate Hapag-Lloyd at a very attractive earnings level in the long term, too. Contributing to this will be the acquisition of Europa 2 in January and the corresponding termination of the charter contract,” the company said.

CLIA study expects 6 of 10 cruise passengers to be repeaters

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry’s ceiling organisation identified seven 2015 cruise industry outlooks, based on several studies, it said in a statement.

Travelers Will Continue to Set Sail – Cruise travelers intend to continue to set sail and are highly satisfied with prior cruise experiences. In fact, 62% are return cruisers and 69% ranked cruising as a better value than a land-based vacation.

Size Doesn't Matter – Five years ago, the largest cruise ship in the world was introduced with a 6,300-passenger capacity. With 22 new ocean, river and specialty cruise ships scheduled for debut this year, the focus is less on size and more on unique design and amenities.

Specialty Cruises Continue to Thrive – CLIA's specialty segments, which includes sophisticated ships, luxury yachts, elegant ocean liners and the newest river cruises, continue to experience double digit passenger growth. In fact, specialty cruises grew by 21%annually from 2009 to 2014 estimates.

Caribbean Continues to Be Queen – The Caribbean remains queen for the cruise industry with more than a third of the global deployment capacity market share in 2015.  At the same time, cruise travelers are expanding horizons. 

The Mediterranean continues to grow as a destination, as well as other regions including Asia and Australia.  In 2015, 52 ships will provide 1,065 Asian cruises with capacity for 2.17 million passengers.

Oh, the New Places We Will Go – The cruise industry is seeing an increase in passengers looking for global experiences. As a result, cruising has made the world more accessible than ever. CLIA's member cruise lines offer nearly 1,000 ports around the globe, including many areas that fall within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel Agents Are Key to Cruise Travel – While the Internet and mobile devices have overtaken how consumers make purchases, travel agents continue to be the most popular and best way to book a cruise. In fact, seven out of ten cruise travelers (70%) use a travel agent to plan and book cruise vacations.

Passengers Are at the Helm – When it comes to travel, consumers are in control more than ever before. The cruise industry is excited, motivated and responding with key innovations that are meeting the needs of today's passengers, such as bow-to-stern Wi-Fi and phone connectivity, multigenerational appeal, themed cruises and "foodcations".

The Travel Agent Pulse Survey was conducted among 482 North American CLIA-certified travel agents via an online survey between November 7-23, 2014.

The 2014 North American Cruise Market Profile Survey was conducted in partnership with market research firm TNS and cruise industry consultancy Bob Sharak & Associates. Drawn from a panel of more than 1 million households, an online survey was conducted between August 12-26, 2014, which collected cruise and travel opinion data among 1,600 U.S. and Canadian residents. This report presents data on travelers who are 25 or older with an annual household income of more than $40,000. 

CLIA forecasts 23 million cruise passengers 2015

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry’s global ceiling organisation, has released its annual State of the Cruise Industry Report 2015. The organisation expects a record 23 million passengers are expected to sail this year, an increase of 4% on last year. It said  61% of North American CLIA-certified travel agents reporting an increase in 2015 travel bookings over this time last year. 

The cruise industry this year will have major economic impact globally. In 2013, the global economic output of the cruise industry was more than $117 billion; the industry supported nearly 900,000 jobs and contributed to $38 billion in wages.

"From new ports around the globe to the investment by CLIA's member cruise lines in new, innovative ships, it's an exciting time for the cruise industry and cruise passengers," said Adam M. Goldstein, CLIA Chairman and President/COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This year will prove to be another step forward for the entire industry as our members continue to strive to make cruising the best overall vacation experience."

Genting Hong Kong issues profit warning on non operational issues

Genting Hong Kong, parent company of Star Cruises, has issued a profit warning on one off, non operational matters.

Based on the preliminary assessment of the latest unaudited financial information, excluding the share of results of NCLH and Travellers, the Group is expected to record a net profit of not less than $235 million for the year ended 31 December 2014, as compared with a net profit, excluding share of results of NCLH and Travellers, of approximately $483 million for the year ended 31 December 2013, Genting Hong Kong said in a statement.

The reduction in gain arising from disposal of certain stakes in NCLH. Such gain in 2014, as disclosed in the Company’s 2014 interim report, amounted to approximately $153 million (2013: $452 million).

Further, the 2014 performance of the group was affected by the absence of gain on deemed disposal of certain stakes in NCLH and Travellers as a result of their initial public offerings, which were completed in 2013 (2013: $219 million).

The 2013 results included a one off gain of approximately $124 million arising from deemed disposal of certain stake in NCLH as a result of its issuance of certain new shares for NCLH’s acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc., which was completed in 2014. Last year, it booked a fair value gain of approximately $18 million arising from the disposal of certain financial assets, while in2013 it had suffered and impairment and fair value losses of $94 million.

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Group expects its EBITDA for the year ended 31 December 2014 to remain stable as compared with 2013.” Genting said.

“The Board wishes to remind investors that the Company is still in the process of finalising its consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2014 and the above net profit comparison did not take into account the Group’s share of results of NCLH and Travellers (both of which are associates of the Group) as both of them are listed companies on overseas stock exchanges,” Genting stated.

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