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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. details impact of Insignia fire

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. on Tuesday quantified the financial impact of the incident on board Oceania Cruises' Insignia.

On December 11, 2014, Insignia experienced a fire in the engine room while docked in St. Lucia during a ten-day voyage that departed San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 7, resulting in the cancellation of the remainder of the sailing. The vessel has been taken out of service and the Company anticipates repair efforts to take approximately nine weeks. The timing of the repairs results in the cancellation of a 24-day voyage which had been scheduled to depart Miami on December 17, 2014 along with the first three legs of Insignia's Around the World in 180 Days cruise, which was scheduled to depart Miami on January 10, 2015. This modified voyage will now commence on March 22, 2015 and depart from Singapore.

The financial impact on the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 is estimated to be a reduction in earnings of approximately $0.05 and $0.05 per share, net of insurance proceeds, respectively. The Company reiterates its prior full year 2014 Adjusted EPS guidance of $2.28 to $2.32. The guidance provided excluded the results of the acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc., parent company of Oceania Cruises, which closed in the fourth quarter of 2014 and also excludes the financial impacts from this incident.

"The timing of repairs has unfortunately required the cancellation of Insignia's holiday voyage along with the modification of the world cruise," said Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "We understand how disappointing this news must be to our valued guests and we extend our sincere appreciation for their cooperation and understanding." 

RCCL to retrofit AEP scrubbers on 19 ships

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), the world's second largest cruise shipping company, said it will retrofit 19 of its 42 ships with advanced emissions purification (AEP) systems, underscoring its commitment to meet or exceed important environmental standards. These systems, also known as scrubbers, will remove more than 97% of the sulfur dioxide emissions generated by the ships' diesel engines. 

The move will position RCCL ahead of all forthcoming International Maritime Organization Emission Control Area emissions standards, and will ensure compliance with existing European Union standards. Additionally, the decision to install AEP systems instead of switching to a fuel with a lower sulfur content will ensure that RCCL's ships can be compliant everywhere they sail, as availability of lower-sulfur fuels is limited, the company said in a statement.

Beginning in January 2015, installation will take place on 13 Royal Caribbean International ships and six Celebrity Cruises ships, during scheduled dry-dockings and while ships are in service. While preliminary work has begun on several of the ships receiving AEP systems, most will take place between 2015 and 2017. Each installation will take approximately eight months.

RCCL has been involved in development, testing and planning for the use of AEP technology since 2010. Two newly built RCCL ships that entered into service this year, Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas and TUI Cruises' Mein Schiff 3, were among the first cruise ships to be built with AEP systems installed during initial construction. Royal Caribbean International's Liberty of the Seas has been operating one of its six engines with a retrofitted AEP system for two years. AEP systems "scrub" exhaust gases by injecting high volumes of water spray into the exhaust stream, removing more than 97% of sulfur dioxide emissions.

"AEP technology for maritime vessels is very new, and we expect that by utilizing multiple technological solutions to accommodate the differences among our ships, additional development will ultimately help industrialize AEP technology even more, which will benefit not only RCCL but also the larger maritime industry," said Adam Goldstein, President and COO of RCCL. 

The company faced significant challenges in order to accommodate the AEP systems on its existing ships – some pieces of which can be as large as a school bus, an entire system having an operational weight of several hundred tons of equipment and liquids. "A retrofit project of this size and complexity – and the scale and intricacy of the research, planning, and design required – is unprecedented for our company, and has required a very systematic process and involved the world's leading expertise in this field," said Harri Kulovaara, Executive Vice President, Maritime, RCCL.

Carnival Corp & plc forecasts 50% rise in current year earnings compared to 2013

Carnival Corp & plc, the world's largest cruise shipping group, said cumulative advance bookings for the first three quarters of 2015 are ahead of the prior year at slightly higher prices. "Since September, booking volumes for the first three quarters of 2015 are running ahead of last year’s levels at slightly lower prices driven by transactional currency impacts," the company said in a statement.

Arnold Donald, President and CEO of the group noted: “Based on our current 2015 guidance, we expect to achieve a 50% improvement in earnings compared to financial year) 2013 and are firmly on a path toward delivering double-digit returns on invested capital.”

He continued: “The current base of business for 2015 builds confidence in our expectation of continuing yield growth with acceleration in yield improvement starting in the second quarter.”

Based on current booking trends, the company forecasts full year 2015 net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to be up approximately 2 percent compared to the prior year. First quarter revenue yields (constant dollars) are expected to be slightly higher than the prior year and improve during the remainder of 2015.

The company expects net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD, on a constant dollar basis, for full year 2015 to be up approximately 3 percent primarily due to higher dry-dock costs, advertising expenses and product enhancements.

Based on current spot prices for fuel, forecasted fuel costs for the full year 2015 are expected to decrease $475 million compared to 2014, net of fuel derivatives, benefiting the company by $0.61 per share. This is forecasted to be partially offset by unfavorable movements in currency exchange rates worth $0.20 per share (includes both translational and transactional currency exchange impacts). Taking the above factors into consideration, the company forecasts full year 2015 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $2.30 to $2.60, compared to 2014 non-GAAP diluted earnings of $1.96 per share.

First quarter 2015 outlook

First quarter constant dollar net revenue yields are expected to be flat to up 1.0 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the first quarter are expected to be 5.5 to 6.5 percent higher on a constant dollar basis compared to the prior year and are higher than full year guidance mostly due to the timing of expenses between quarters.

Current currency exchange rates and fuel prices net of fuel derivatives are expected to benefit first quarter earnings by $130 million compared to the prior year, or $0.16 per share. Based on the above factors, the company expects non-GAAP diluted earnings for the first quarter 2015 to be in the range of $0.07 to $0.11 per share, compared to 2014 non-GAAP earnings of $0.00 per share.

Carnival Corp & plc 2013 financial year net income rises to $1.2 billion

Carnival Corporation & plc has announced full year 2014 U.S. GAAP net income of $1.2 billion, or $1.59 diluted EPS, which included unrealized losses (non-cash) on fuel derivatives of $268 million and $20 million of net charges.

Full year 2013 U.S. GAAP net income was $1.1 billion, or $1.39 diluted EPS, which included net unrealized gains (non-cash) on fuel derivatives of $36 million and impairments and other charges of $190 million.

Revenues for the full year 2014 were $15.9 billion compared to $15.5 billion for the prior year. Cash from operations for the full year 2014 totaled $3.4 billion compared to $2.8 billion in 2013.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, “Full year earnings were significantly higher than the prior year primarily due to strong profit improvement at both our Carnival Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises brands. We enjoyed some early wins from our collaboration efforts that contributed to our improved results, particularly for onboard revenues. We worked hard to contain costs and achieved an almost five percent reduction in fuel consumption for the year as we continue to implement energy conservation measures. We also made a number of strategic decisions in fleet investments that will position us well for the future.”

Commenting on the fourth quarter Donald stated, “Last quarter operating profit more than doubled due to higher ticket prices and onboard spending combined with lower costs, also exceeding previous guidance.” During the quarter, the Carnival Cruise Lines brand achieved a significant increase in revenue yields despite a highly competitive environment in the Caribbean. Additionally, Costa’s Asia operations achieved double-digit revenue yield improvement on a capacity increase in that region.

New ship introductions during the quarter generated substantial media coverage and positive buzz including the star-studded North American debut of Regal Princess which featured a reunion of the Love Boat cast and numerous guest stars who appeared on the hit TV show, as well as the delivery of Costa Diadema at a stunning and festive inaugural in Genoa, Italy. The company also recently placed orders with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for three innovative new ships for its Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line and Seabourn brands to be delivered in 2018. In addition, the company recently sold three of its smaller vessels – Costa Celebration, Grand Holiday and Ocean Princess.

Fincantieri wins Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line orders

Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilder, said it has been awarded an order by Carnival Corporation & plc for the construction of two new cruise ships for Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line.

Both will be sisters ships respectively to Carnival Vista and Koningsdam, both currently under construction at Fincantieri shipyards.

The Carnival Cruise Lines' ship, the 26th unit in line’s fleet, with a gross tonnage of 133,500 will have capacity for 3,954 passengers and will enter service in the spring 2018. The Holland America Line ship, a second Pinnacle class unit, will have a gross tonnage of 99,500 and accommodation for 2,650 passengers and will be delivered in autumn 2018, the company said in a statement.

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