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RCCL raises 2018 EPS guidance $0.15 to up to $8.90

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Limited (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, said it has  has increased its forecast of full year adjusted earnings per share (EPS) to a range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share, $0.15 above the previous guidance.

“The company's 2018 booked position is better than last year's record high and ahead in both volume and rate.  All core products are generally in line with the company's previous expectations,” it said in a statement.

The company expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 2.0% to 3.75% in Constant-Currency and approximately 4.0% As-Reported for the full year.

Net cruise costs, excluding fuel, are expected to be up approximately 2.5% in Constant-Currency and up 3.0% to 3.5% As-Reported.  “This revised cost guidance reflects some shifts related to our joint ventures that will be shown below the operating profit line versus above line.  The updated guidance also reflects increased investments in demand generating activities,” RCCL said.

Lower interest bill, non operating costs power RCCL to record first quarter net profit

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

A fall in non operating costs led by a 15% fall in net interest expenses helped Royal Caribbean Cruises, Limited (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group to report a record first quarter net profit of $218.6 million.

Revenues rose a fraction, to $2.03 billion from $2.00 billion in the first three months of last year, while operating profit shrank to $274.1 million from $279.5 million. Net profit rose to $218.6 million from $214.7 million year on, helped by a fall in non operating expenses to $55.5 million from $64.8 million.   Net interest expenses dropped by 15% to $67.9 million.

“The company reported first quarter US GAAP earnings of $1.02 per share and adjusted earnings of $1.09 per share beating guidance due to better revenue,” the company said in a statement, adding that during this quarter the company completed the $500 million share repurchase program authorized a year ago. The number of shares outstanding amounted to 212.6 million at the end of the quarter, down from 214.9 million year on.

Gross Yields rose 3.1% in Constant-Currency and 5.1% As-Reported in the quarter, year on, while Net Yields increased by 4.9% in Constant-Currency and by 7.0% As-Reported.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 5.0% in Constant-Currency and by 6.1% As-Reported. Net Cruise Costs excluding fuel per available passenger capacity day (APCD) increased by 11.2% in Constant-Currency.

Overall, the company's booked position remains at a record level, better than last year in both rate and volume.

"This year is proving to be another strong year with all our brands firing on all cylinders," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO.  "The market continues to support our growth as our people keep focused on delivering our targets and goals. The strength of this market plus our new ships in 2018 (Symphony of the Seas, Azamara Pursuit, Mein Schiff 1 and Celebrity Edge), position us nicely for 2019 as well."



TUI Cruises takes delivery of Mein Schiff 1 and renames oldest vessel

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

TUI Cruises, the Hamburg based premium cruise line, has taken delivery of Mein Schiff 1 from Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland and renamed its oldest vessel Mein Schiff Hertz.

The new ship is of about 111,500 gross tons, making it the largest unit in the fleet of TUI Cruises. The company will retain the Mein Schiff 2, built as Mercury for Celebrity Cruises in 1997 rather than to sell it to Marella Cruises in the UK as originally planned. Marella Cruises is a fully owned unit of TUI AG, which also owns 50% of the shares in TUI Cruises.

As the second newbuilding of the Mein Schiff 1 type will be called Mein Schiff 2, it had become necessary to rename the existing vessels of that name and it will now be called Mein Schiff Hertz. The third newbuilding of the Mein Schiff 1 type will be called Mein Schiff 7, TUI Cruises said in a statement.

MSC Cruises to reposition MSC Bellissima to Asia in spring 2020 making it the largest cruise ship ever deployed in Far East

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Today, as MSC Splendida arrived in Chinese waters, MSC Cruises – the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line as well as leading cruise brand in Europe and South America – announced that MSC Bellissima will be deployed in Asia in Spring 2020, becoming MSC Cruises’ newest flagship for the region. MSC Bellissima, MSC Cruises’ second Meraviglia-class ship, is currently being constructed at STX France’s shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and is due to first come into service in March 2019.

Following her inaugural season in the Mediterranean next summer, MSC Bellissima will bring a range of cutting-edge innovations to China and Japan, including the longest LED Sky Screen at Sea, at 262 feet long, within a stunning 315 ft. long Mediterranean-style promenade, designed to become the social hub of the ship. Guests will be able to enjoy brand new and exclusive to MSC Cruises Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows every night as well as a next-generation MSC Yacht Club, with new features and luxurious accommodations spanning three decks, private facilities and butler service around-the-clock. MSC Bellissima will be among the biggest and most innovative cruise ships deployed in the region.

While MSC Bellissima will be mostly based in Shanghai to serve the Chinese home market, she will also offer a number of sailings from Japan to cater to the growing demand for the MSC Cruises product and experience from Japanese consumers.

Speaking at an official meeting with Mr CHEN Qun, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, commented, “MSC Splendida does not mark the end of our ambitions in China and Asia overall. This market is a global priority, and we are committed to serving it with our very best ships and products. For this reason, I’m delighted to announce that MSC Bellissima will homeport in Asia as of Spring 2020, marking the next step of our growth in one of the world’s most appealing cruise markets.”

In addition, MSC Splendida has completed her Maritime Silk Road sailing, which has taken her from Dubai, UAE, to Shanghai, China. During her season in Asia, she will also operate mostly out of Shanghai as well as Yokohama, Japan. With 137,936 gross ton, MSC Splendida is one of the largest, most modern cruise ships currently operating in the Asia region. She features 1,637 staterooms, 76 percent of which feature a balcony and can accommodate up to a total of 4,363 guests (3,274 double occupancy).

MSC Splendida, a favorite for Asian guests cruising in Europe, will introduce the MSC Yacht Club to the Chinese and Asian markets. This exclusive, “ship-within-a-ship” high-end concept has been designed for the most discerning guests who desire exclusivity and privacy with all of the choices of a larger ship. Offering a broad range of private facilities, MSC Yacht Club’s guests also benefit from exclusive services including 24-hour butler service, a dedicated concierge service as well as priority boarding and disembarkation.

Prior to today’s arrival, MSC Splendida went through an extensive overhaul to renovate her interiors, install new features of and upgraded on board experiences and add features that meet the expectations of Chinese and Asian guests. MSC Splendida now features an exclusive selection of Asian and Western cuisines in three new restaurants: the signature hot pot restaurant, Sea Pavilion, by the acclaimed Chinese chef Jereme Leung, who is globally recognized for his contemporary interpretation of Chinese cuisine; the Hong Kong style Dim Sum & Teahouse; and the Butcher’s Cut, a popular American-style steak house on board MSC Cruises’ fleet.

MSC Splendida is also now equipped with the latest evolution of MSC for Me, MSC Cruises’ digital innovation program bringing the very latest advances in customer-centric technology to guests at sea. The comprehensive program is focused on connecting guests to their desired vacation experience through cutting-edge technology that is specially engineered to meet their every need, providing guests with smart features geared toward a fully optimized cruise. These include a dedicated app to help guests tailor their experience at any point on their journey, whether booking their excursions prior to embarkation or reserving a specialty restaurant while relaxing by the top-deck pool. The technology will improve the overall guest experience allowing for more free time to enjoy the cruise. MSC Splendida also provides portable Wi-Fi translator enabled by Baidu’s AI technology, and supports payments via Alipay, an easy to use payment method providing discounted exchange rates without internet connection.

MSC Splendida is due to arrive in Yokohama on April 27, where MSC Cruises will also celebrate its ten-year anniversary in Japan.

Royal Caribbean to increase Singapore capacity with Quantum of the Seas' six-month season

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Royal Caribbean International has announced that its Asia’s largest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, will be back in Singapore for a six-month homeporting season in 2019 to 2020 – the cruise line’s longest ever Singapore deployment for a Quantum Class ship.

The announcement with this ship which redefined cruising in Asia in terms of size and innovative amenities, reaffirms Royal Caribbean’s confidence in Singapore as the region’s leading cruising gateway, and its commitment to grow its cruise offerings in Singapore and the region.

Over her 34 sailings during the six months from November 2019 to April 2020, Quantum of the Seas is expected to add some 150,000 guests to the Singapore cruising scene. With this 18-deck high, 168,666 gross ton ship which can carry 4,905 guests in total, Royal Caribbean will increase its capacity in Singapore by 30 percent.

Her itineraries include 4-night cruises to Penang or Phuket, 5-night cruises to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang and Phuket, a 7-night cruise to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang and Phuket (with an overnight) and a 7-night cruise to Bangkok (Laem Chabang) (with an overnight) and Ho Chi Minh City.

Quantum of the Seas will also be revitalised prior to her return to Singapore. The multi-million dollar project will see the ship refreshed and upgraded to provide the best of the next-generation cruise experience for guests in this region.

President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, said that the commitment to bring in bigger and better ships like Quantum of the Seas demonstrates Royal Caribbean’s confidence in the region to continue experiencing record-breaking growth.

“The Asian cruise market has seen tremendous growth over the last few years, and Singapore has been leading growth as one of the most significant cruise destinations and cruise source markets in the region,” said Bayley.

He added, “In response to the strong demand from Singapore and the region, we have decided to bring in longer cruises for Quantum of the Seas’ return. The season will feature cruises starting from four nights and the first ever 7-night round trip cruises on a Quantum Class ship here. With this ground-breaking itinerary design for the Asian cruise market, our guests will get the opportunity to enjoy a more comprehensive Quantum Class experience and take in more of what this amazing ship has to offer.”

Yap Chin Siang, Assistant Chief Executive, Policy and Planning Group, Singapore Tourism Board, said, “We are pleased to welcome the new and improved Quantum of the Seas to Singapore. The Quantum’s upcoming deployment is a strong endorsement from Royal Caribbean International, our trusted industry partner, of Singapore’s status as Southeast Asia’s homeport of choice. The Quantum of the Seas will be a key addition to Singapore’s vibrant and diverse line-up of cruise offerings, catering to the strong demand for cruising from Singapore.”

The smart ship Quantum of the Seas currently offer the ‘North Star’, an observation capsule that rises 92 metres over the ocean; ‘Two70’ – a hi-tech entertainment venue; cocktails served by robots at the ‘Bionic Bar’; skydiving and surfing experiences; and ‘SeaPlex’, the largest indoor activity space at sea – housing a basketball court, roller-skating, bumper cars and more.

The ship also boasts 18 restaurant venues with cuisines from around the globe, including imaginative cuisine at Wonderland and Jamie’s Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.