Cruise operator Carnival Corp on Monday reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss and beat estimates for revenue, helped by resilient demand for leisure travel, higher ticket prices and strong on-board spending.
Carnival’s shares rose about 1.4% as the company also said it expects 2023 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) between $3.9 billion and $4.1 billion.
The company posted a negative EBITDA of $1.68 billion on an adjusted basis in 2022 when it had relatively fewer ships operational due to pandemic-related restrictions.
Carnival, which said it was well booked for the remainder of the year on the back of higher ticket prices, recorded its highest ever quarterly booking volumes in both North America and Europe for the January-March period.
Consumers at the higher end of the income rung who remain undeterred by elevated levels of inflation helped boost booking volumes and occupancy rates as restrictions imposed during the pandemic were lifted.
Carnival also benefited from easing of on-board COVID-19 protocols that ensured strong spending in casinos and spas. On-board and other revenue came in at $1.56 billion and accounted for 35% of the total revenue in the first quarter.
The company posted an adjusted net loss of 55 cents per share in the quarter, compared with estimates of a loss of 60 cents per share, according to Refinitiv.
Revenue rose to $4.43 billion from $1.62 billion a year earlier, beating estimates of $4.33 billion.
However, Carnival also a forecast larger-than-expected annual loss signaling that a stronger dollar and rising fuel prices were hurting its profit margins.
The company expects an annual loss between 28 cents per share and 44 cents per share, compared with estimates of a loss of 8 cents.