Carnival Corporation today reported a “solid” wave peak booking period with booking levels up by 20% globally.

This beat last year’s cumulative advance booking levels, albeit at lower prices, according to president and chief executive Arnold Donald (pictured).

Booking volumes since January for the remainder of the year are running “well ahead” of 2013 but at prices below last year’s levels.

“Many guests are booking further in advance, which increases visibility and builds confidence that yield comparisons will turn positive in the second half of 2014,” said Donald.

“Increased interest across our brands is an encouraging indication that our message is resonating as consumers recognise the strong value proposition and exceptional vacation experiences we provide.”

He added: “We see progress with our continental European brands and continue to be pleased with Carnival Cruise Lines’ pace of improvement.”

Main brand Carnival Cruises Lines was dogged with a series of technical issues to a series of ships last year.

“We are on the path toward improved financial performance. We are working hard to maintain the momentum with additional product initiatives, continuous improvement in our already high guest satisfaction levels and greater utilisation of our global scale,” said Arnold.

A first quarter net profit of $2 million was down by $65 million on the same period a year earlier based on revenues the same at $3.6 billion.

However, Arnold said the earnings were better than anticipated in the company’s December guidance due to improved prices achieved by Carnival Cruise Lines and the corporation’s European brands.

Net revenue yields declined by 2.1% in the three months to February 28, while net cruise costs excluding fuel rose by 3.3% as more was spent on advertising.

The group’s brands – which account for more than 100 ships – carried 2.4 million passengers in the quarter, up by more than 100,000 over the same three months a year earlier.