Strong US demand and a jump in bookings so far this year is expected to mitigate lingering weakness in Europe in 2013, according to Royal Caribbean Cruises.

The world’s second largest cruise operator said bookings in recent weeks were about 20% higher than a year earlier, when demand was hit after the Costa Concordia disaster.

The company expects record yields on its Caribbean and Alaska itineraries to “more than offset” slow demand in Europe, where a weak economy, particularly on the Mediterranean rim, and the continued impact from Concordia have hit sales.

Chief executive Richard Fain said: “Looking forward, we see a tale of two continents; North America is doing well, while parts of Europe continue to be a challenge.”

Royal Caribbean reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $392.8 million, or $1.80 per share, on revenue of $1.81 billion, compared with a profit of $36.6 million, or 17 cents per share, on revenue of $1.78 billion a year earlier.

The loss stemmed from a $413.9 million impairment charge related to its Spanish cruise line Pullmantur, which has been hit by austerity measures in the country.

The company expects net yields, which reflect revenue from passenger tickets as well as what customers spend while on board, to be up between 2% and 4%, excluding currency fluctuations and anticipates 2013 profits of $2.30 per share to $2.50 per share.