Carnival Corp raises profit forecast again on steady cruise demand

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Carnival Corp raised its annual profit forecast on Tuesday for the second time this year, banking on higher prices for its itineraries and sustained demand from Americans for cruise holidays.

The company’s U.S.-listed shares, which have fallen more than 11% this year, rose 6.71% to $17.48.

2024 has been a record year for cruise operators, with booking volumes hitting an all-time high as travelers continue to seek out newer experiences and fun activities at affordable rates, giving companies room to hike ticket prices to offset elevated operating costs.

The company continues to experience strong bookings momentum driven by record booking volumes for 2025 sailings,” Carnival CEO Josh Weinstein said.

While still early, the cumulative advanced booked position for full year 2025 is even higher than 2024 in both price (in constant currency) and occupancy.”

Carnival’s total customer deposits during the second quarter reached an all-time high of $8.3 billion, surpassing the previous record by $1.1 billion, the company said.

The cruise operator reported a second-quarter profit of 7 cents per share. Analysts had expected a loss of 2 cents per share, according to LSEG data.

“Carnival’s net debt remains stubbornly high at $27.7 billion,” Derren Nathan, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

With the second quarter typically being the strongest for cash generation there may not be too much further movement (in reducing debt) this year.”

Carnival said it prepaid $1.6 billion of debt during the second quarter on the back of strong liquidity and improved financial performance.

Cruise costs per available lower berth day, or the passenger capacity of a ship while it is sailing and in service, rose 4% during the second quarter.

Carnival now expects 2024 adjusted profit per share of about $1.18, compared with its earlier forecast of 98 cents.

Rivals Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line have also raised their annual profit targets in recent months.

Source: Reuters