Carnival Corporation is to more than double its quarterly dividend paid to shareholders, reflecting continued buoyancy in the cruise sector.

The largest global cruise company is to increase its regular quarterly dividend to $0.25 per share from $0.10 per share, with payments to be made on March 11.

Chairman and chief executive Micky Arison said: “Considering the current economic climate, our ability to more than double our dividend just a year after its reinstatement is a remarkable testament to the resilience of our global cruise brands and our confidence in the future of our business.

“Given our projected increase in cash from operations, expected to exceed $4 billion in 2011, combined with lower capital investment commitments due to the slower pace of our new-build program, the company will begin generating significant free cash flow in 2011 and beyond.”