MUSIC TO OUR EARS

Demand for Cruises Soars - And So Do Prices: Carnival Corp

Holland America Line's Eurodam
The Eurodam

Just as the Celebrity Edge was about to make history as the first cruise ship to sail from an American port after the pandemic last week, the CEO of a competing cruise company was reporting sky high demand and bookings.

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald
Arnold Donald, Carnival CEO

Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp (which is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Lines, as well as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Cunard and others) told Fox Business: "Honestly, people are champing at the bit to cruise again."

In a second-quarter business update Thursday, the company revealed that bookings for future cruises were up a whopping 45 per cent during the first quarter.

As The Points Guy’s report points out, “That’s on top of a 90 per cent increase in bookings for future cruises during the three previous months as compared to the three months before that.”

Carnival added that, due to pent-up demand, advance bookings for 2022 were already higher than before the pandemic.

According to Business Insider’s report, Donald described bookings as “robust” – and “among the highest in the company’s history.”

His comments were great news to travel advisors keen to get their cruise clients booking: "We do not have an issue with being able to fill the ships. People are ready to sail. In fact, we have far more demand than we have ships available to supply right now."

Donald also claimed travellers are confident in cruise safety, especially as vaccine rollouts continue. He called the progress in vaccinations a "huge game-changer."

Nonetheless, as he reportedly told Fox Business, "If the virus is in the community on land ... then of course you can get it on board despite all the things we do," adding,"We can't guarantee there will never be a case on board, but the chance of an outbreak is very low.”

Carnival Corp. CFO David Bernstein reportedly told listeners on the company’s earnings call that 2022 looks even better than pre-pandemic sales, “which was at the high-end of the historical range,” he said.

And that comes despite a virtual elimination of marketing and advertising during the lines’ shutdown.

The high demand may also come at a cost to cruise travellers in the form of higher costs to sail - but that may be music to some travel advisors’ ears.

Bernstein told the call that, “Pricing on our full-year 2022 booked position is higher than pricing on bookings at the same time for 2019 sailings.”

He also pointed out, “This is a great achievement given pricing on bookings for 2019 sailings is a tough comparison, as it was a high watermark for historical [pricing] yields.”

Lynn Elmhirst

Editor

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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