Carnival boosted by bookings but posts another heavy loss

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Carnival PLC (LON:CCL) racked up more big losses in its latest quarter but said bookings are rising and it hopes to restart cruises in some major markets in May.

The P&O owner posted a loss of US$2bn in the first quarter of 2020, but ended the period with cash of US$11.5bn and said its rate of cash burn had slowed.

Booking volumes for all future cruises during the first quarter of 2021 were also approximately 90% higher than booking volumes during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Cumulative advanced bookings for full-year 2022 are now ahead of a very strong 2019, it added, despite minimal advertising or marketing.

Six of the company’s nine brands are expected to resume limited guest cruise operations by this summer, Carnival said.

AIDA resumed guest cruise operations in March sailing in the Canary Islands.

Costa expects to resume guest cruise operations in May sailing to Italian ports.

P&O Cruises (UK), Cunard and Princess Cruises will offer cruises around the UK this while Seabourn expects to resume guest cruise operations this summer sailing from Greece.

Arnold Donald, chief executive, said: “With an exciting roster of six new, more efficient ships by December and with lower capacity from the exit of 19 less efficient ships, we expect to capitalize on pent-up demand and achieve significant cost improvement from the greater efficiency of our fleet, along with ongoing streamlining of shoreside operations.”

Donald added that booking volumes are accelerating.

“Total customer deposits as of February 28, 2021 and November 30, 2020 were US$2.2 bn, the majority of which are future cruise credits.”

Shares rose 7.7% to 1,838p. 

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