Carnival Corporation has disclosed that advance bookings for next year are behind this time in 2012 and at prices in line with last year’s levels.

Since September, booking volumes for the first three quarters of 2014 are running “well ahead” of last year’s levels but at lower prices.

The parent of brands such as P&O Cruises, Cunard and Carnival Cruise Lines, which suffered from a number of high profile problems with ships earlier in the year, reported a drop in quarterly profits.

Fourth quarter net profits were down to $35 million from $111 million a year earlier based on revenues up from $3.6 billion to $3.7 billion.

Full year profit declined to $1.2 billion against $1.5 billion the previous year based on revenues up to $15.5 billion from $15.4 billion.

However, president and chief executive Arnold Donald said that fourth quarter earnings were higher than anticipated due mainly to better than expected cruise prices and onboard spending at Carnival Cruise Lines.

He said: “Accelerated progress in Carnival Cruise Lines’ brand recovery had a positive impact on fourth quarter results.

“A steady stream of innovative product initiatives, the launch of a nationwide marketing campaign and travel agent outreach programme, as well as an industry-leading vacation guarantee [both in the US] fuelled the brand’s improvement.”

Commenting on the full year, Donald said: “Even in a challenging year, our company continued to produce strong cash from operations approaching $3 billion, funding our capital commitments and returning value to shareholders through regular dividend distributions of $775 million and share repurchases of $100 million.”

Looking forward, he added: “With over 100 ships and more than 10 million guests we have a scale advantage that cannot be replicated in this industry.

“We are aggressively seeking opportunities to leverage that scale to drive top line improvement and gain cost efficiencies.

“To support that effort, we have realigned our leadership team and processes to achieve greater collaboration and cooperation. We have heightened our focus on the guest experience and further exceeding guest expectations.

“As 2014 progresses, we will commence a number of strategic initiatives designed to fuel our earnings power, drive cash flow and improve return on invested capital over time.”

Donald said: “We are catching up on booking volumes and gaining momentum as we enter 2014.

“We believe the compelling value we have in the marketplace will continue to stimulate strong demand leading to a solid wave period. We continue to expect revenue yields to turn positive in the second half of 2014 compared to the prior year.”