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RCCL raises 2017 guidance on back of strong first quarter

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, said it has updated full year adjusted earnings per share (EPS) guidance to a range of $7.00 to $7.20 from $6.90 to $7.10 after reporting strong rise in net profit in the first quarter of the present year.

The company expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 4.5% to 6.0% on a Constant-Currency basis and 4.0% to 5.5% on an As-Reported basis.

Net Cruise Costs excluding fuel are expected to be flat to up slightly on a Constant-Currency basis and flat on an As-Reported basis.

“Overall, the year has developed very much along the trajectory the company projected at the beginning of the year. Bookings started the year on a very strong note and continued to please. This strong demand for cruises generally has offset the recent headwinds from the disrupted Korean sailings mainly during the second and third quarters,” the company said in a statement.

"First quarter's results are evidence that demand for cruise has room to grow, especially considering a 7% yield improvement achieved in the first quarter of last year," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO, said in the statement. "With consumers making the choice to spend more on experiences, our innovative hardware and superb onboard delivery is thriving."

RCCL first quarter net profit more than doubles to $214.7 million

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, has reported a string rise in first quarter net profit, with strong demand in Europe offsetting the negative impact of recent events in Korea.

Group net profit rose to $214.7 million in the first quarter from $99.1 million in the same period last year, while operating income increased to $279.5 million from $163.1 million. Revenues reached $2.01 billion from $1.92 billion.

Net yields on a constant currency basis increased 6.0% during the quarter. constant-currency net cruise costs excluding fuel decreased 4.4%. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the first quarter was $531 per metric ton and consumption was 334,000 metric tons

The company said in a statement that bookings, overall, are not materially different from the same period last year, with strength in Europe offsetting the negative impact recent events of Korea.

Currency and fuel related matters have not materially changed either, while costs continue to be under control and the strong first quarter results are the key drivers of the upward guidance revision for the full year (please see separate story).

“Our progress continues on a steady upward path toward our Double-Double goals," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, in the statement. "The year started off with a very positive tone and the tone has only continued to please. We are looking forward to our fifth consecutive year of double-digit earnings growth."



Global Ports Holding plans to go public in London to grow portfolio

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Global Ports Holding (GPH), the Turkish company that is the world's largest independent cruise port operator, has announced its intention to proceed with an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

The company expects raise a total of $250 million, of which $75 million would be in primary offering of shares, the company said in a statement.

 “Current passenger trends and market dynamics provide an excellent opportunity to expand our business further internationally. Listing on the London Stock Exchange is an exciting milestone for the Company. It provides an opportunity for people to share in our ambitious plans to expand our existing footprint of 14 ports in eight countries, through acquisitions across Europe, the Caribbean and Asia,” said Emre Sayin, CEO, in the statement.

The company operates 14 ports in eight countries and in 2014, the ports handled a total of 7.8 million passengers, twice the figure of 2014. It added six new facilities in its portfolio in the past 18 months.

“The Company plans to use the majority of the net proceeds that it receives from the Offering to acquire and develop new ports. GPH has identified and is in discussions with a number of cruise port acquisition targets, including nine ports in Europe, seven ports in the Caribbean and four ports in Asia,” it said.




Viking Ocean Cruises and Fincantieri in two plus two ship deal

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Viking Ocean Cruises, the privately owned luxury cruise line and the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri have signed a memorandum of agreement to build two 47,800 gross ton cruise ships, plus a further two on option, Fincantieri said in a statement.

The first two ships are due for delivery in 2021 and 2022, respectively, but the agreement remains subject to satisfactory conclusion of certain technical and financial matters.

Like the previous ships of the company, the newbuildings will carry 930 passengers that are accommodated in 465 cabins, all of which have their own balconies.


Majestic Princess to sail from Sydney over 2018-19

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

In a major development for the local cruise industry, Princess Cruises has announced that its latest ship, the Majestic Princess, will be based in Sydney over the 2018-19 southern hemisphere summer season.

Carrying 3560 guests, the 143,000 gross ton Majestic Princess will be the largest Princess ship ever to sail in Australian waters, with her deployment confirming the cruise line’s popularity amongst Australian and New Zealand cruisers.

The newest ship of Princess Cruises’ 18-ship fleet, the newly-launched Majestic Princess sailed on her maiden voyage in Italy last week (April 4). She will offer cruises in Europe and China before heading south to Sydney where she will be homeported from September 2018 through to March 2019, when she will return to China. Originally Majestic Princess was earmarked for year-round operation in China market.

During her inaugural Australian season, Majestic Princess will sail on 16 cruises to destinations including Fiji, New Zealand and Tasmania as well as two Asia voyages between Shanghai and Sydney, and Sydney and Hong Kong. Fares start from $1499* per person twin share for a balcony room on a six-night roundtrip cruise to Tasmania departing November 18, 2018.

Majestic Princess features 13 dining options including two restaurants with menus designed by Michelin star chefs – Harmony by Chef Richard Chen and La Merby Chef Emmanuel Renaut – as well as more than 1000 square metres of designer shopping, the cruise line’s largest ever thermal suite and a dramatic over-the-ocean glass walkway, the SeaWalk.

Guests can enjoy a wide range of high-end accommodation including suites, Club Class mini-suites and new deluxe balcony rooms, with more than 80 per cent of the ship’s 1780 staterooms offering private balconies.

Majestic Princess’ deployment is a highlight of Princess Cruises’ new 2018-19 Australia and New Zealand program which will go on sale at 9am on Thursday April 27, 2017. The program features four Princess ships – Majestic Princess, Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess – which will together offer almost 100 cruises from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Auckland over a seven-month period.

Unveiling the program, Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the deployment of Majestic Princess was testament to Australians’ love of cruising and the popularity of Princess Cruises in the region.

“From her gourmet restaurants to her stunning onboard features, Majestic Princess is nothing short of magnificent. We’re thrilled to be welcoming our newest, most stylish and most luxurious flagshipto our shores – having just experienced her preview voyage I know Australian cruisers will love all that she has to offer,” Allison said.

Majestic Princess has already attracted enthusiastic reviews from media and travel agents. Cruise Critic Editor in Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown said: “It's as if Majestic has pulled together the best of cruise worlds, old and new.” Meanwhile Australian travel agent Janette Wall from Cruiseabout said: “Majestic Princess has certainly raised the bar for the 21st century cruiser.”

Princess’ latest program also reinforces the cruise line’s role as the destination experts, revealing two new ports of call for the cruise line – the stunning and remote Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea and Queensland’s exciting Moreton Island, famous for its great marine life and fun adventure activities. In total the program covers cruises to 72 different ports in 18 countries.

Meanwhile, the 2018-19 summer will see Princess deliver its biggest ever New Zealand season, with a record 39 cruises to Australia’s transTasman neighbour. Majestic Princess alone will sail on 14 New Zealand cruises, including six one-way cruises between Sydney and Auckland.