The overall capacity of Carnival Corporation’s fleet has increased by 10% despite more than 20 ships leaving the world’s largest cruise firm during the pandemic.
President Arnold Donald told a Travel Weekly webcast the fleet, split between nine cruise brands, was “leaner” and that every ship that remained would be back operating either this year or in early 2023.
He explained new vessels had come into the fleet and others had left because they were less “efficient”.
“We exited almost 22 ships in total during the pause, so we have a leaner fleet,” he said. “When all the fleet is sailing sometime next year, we’ll probably be at 10% plus overall capacity despite the fact since 2019 we exited those ships. Things are going really well.”
He said that it did not make sense to keep ships that were “less efficient” and “contain resource” when there was “no opportunity” for them to generate revenue.
The pandemic, he said, “accelerated” the company’s exit plan for these vessels. “Those ships would have been gone in a number of years anyway,” he explained. “It accelerated a plan on those ships with no great prospects for returns down the road.”
Carnival Corp will launch six ships – including P&O Cruises’ Arvia and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Celebration – this year.
“We’re excited about our existing fleet that is now even more efficient because as I said we exited a number of less efficient vessels,” he said.
Around 75% of Carnival Corp’s fleet is currently sailing, said Donald, who added many Carnival Cruise Line’s vessels were sailing at full occupancy.
He went on to say: “You can feel the restart is there.”
But he pointed out how destinations such as Australia and Alaska were “just beginning to open up” and cruises in China and Japan had not yet resumed.
He predicted that the entire fleet would return sometime early next year before adding: “Maybe even at the end of this year, it depends when all the destinations open.
“The assets are mobile so we do move ships around and even though some destinations may continue to be closed for a period of time, some of those ships may have different itineraries than they would have before.
“So sometime this year, early next year, we expect to have all the fleet sailing.”