Carnival Corporation’s year-end earnings call to financial analysts provided insights into 2010 which corroborate retailer reports: advance bookings have been strong in the past three months, but no dramatic recovery is seen for 2010.Still, as the cruise giant's CEO Micky Arison pointed out, some perspective is required.
“One of the unfortunate things here is everybody is looking at this as, ‘Oh my goodness, we are projecting a flat year.’ But if we had tanked like everybody else in leisure last year, we would be looking at fantastic earnings growth this year. Everything is relative.”
Overall, Carnival Corp.’s 2009 Q4 profit fell by 48% from the year before, yet the company still outperformed just about every major leisure travel firm.
Net yields in the fourth quarter for North American brands were down 14%, driven by declines in all itineraries. “Pricing for cruises still has not recovered as much as we would like,” said COO Howard Frank. He cited the uncertain economic picture for 2010 as a factor in pricing recovery. “In selected areas of the business, we have seen more demand and have been able to move pricing higher.'