Royal Caribbean Cruises has reported a “good but typical” wave peak season booking period as it projected a further hike in profits this year.
The disclosure came as the world’s second largest cruise conglomerate reported a 40% rise in full-year net profits of $755.7 million, against $239.2 million in 2013, and projected another 40% rise in 2015.
Chairman and chief executive Richard Fain said: “It’s been a good year and we are looking forward to another good one in 2015. Our brands are performing at their strongest levels ever.”
The company said: “Operationally, results were on target, but close-in bookings were at the low end of the scale whereas 2013’s very robust pattern was unusually strong. These weaker bookings were offset by improved expenses and equity investments.”
Reviewing current trading, the parent company of brands such as Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, said: “Bookings over the past three months have been higher than prior year levels, and the company is experiencing a good, but typical wave season.”
Load factors are ahead of same time last year and bookings at the end of 2014 were at “the best such position in the company’s history”.
Chief financial officer Jason Liberty said: “On the revenue front, although the first quarter remains a challenge, we are pleased with the way our summer season in the Caribbean, Europe, China and Alaska is coming together.
“On the expense side, our on-going focus on driving efficiencies throughout the business provides us with the ability to keep our costs firmly in line with our expectations while strategically investing in technology enhancements and growing markets, like China.”
The fall in oil prices is expected to help lower fuel costs this year but part of that gain will be offset by negative foreign exchange movements due to the strength of the dollar.
The company will introduce Anthem of the Seas in April, sailing from Southampton this summer, while German joint venture Tui Cruises will take delivery of its second new build ship Mein Schiff 4.
Celebrity Century is to be delivered this spring to Chinese joint venture, SkySea Cruises.
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