A “stellar” wave peak booking period help propel first quarter profits at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings up to almost $138 million.

The figure compares with $91.2 million achieved in the same three months to March 31 last year. Total revenue rose by 12.4% to $1.3 billion year-on-year.

The performance enabled the company to forecast record profits for the year.

President and chief executive Frank Del Rio said: “The year is off to an impressive start with yet another record quarter of earnings, which exceeded expectations.

“The 2018 wave season was stellar and has further strengthened our overall future booked position with load factor and pricing continuing to be well ahead of prior year for the remaining quarters of 2018 and throughout 2019.”

The company runs Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises with a combined fleet of 26 ships, including newly-launched NCL ship Norwegian Bliss.

The operator plans introduce six additional ships by 2025 and has an option to introduce two additional vessels for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings interim chief financial officer Mark Kempa said: “The strong global demand for our portfolio of brands which we experienced during 2017 has continued, as demonstrated by the successful, record-breaking launch of Norwegian Bliss, which entered the fleet as the best booked Norwegian Cruise Line new build in the history of our company.”

A recently announced $1 billion share repurchase scheme “reflects our ongoing confidence in our financial position and the long-term strength of our business as well as our commitment to provide meaningful capital returns to our shareholders,” he added.