Royal Caribbean Cruises saw first quarter profits almost halved to $47 million against $78 million in the same period last year but claimed the impact of the Costa Concordia disaster is waning.
The reduction in profits came despite a rise in revenues to $1.8 billion from $1.7 billion a year earlier for the parent company of brands such as Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.
Booking activity has continued to gradually improve over the last several months.
Cumulative bookings since early February have been down “mid single digits” although gradual improvement continues, the company said.
Bookings from the US have been running ahead of the same period last year for the past four weeks. Price cuts have been implemented to address booking shortfalls on certain products through the end of the third quarter.
“Overall, pricing remains in line with or higher than the same time last year for all major itinerary groups with the exception of Europe,’ the company said
Bookings for the fourth quarter of 2012 and for 2013 sailings remain strong, with both load factors and pricing running ahead of same time last year.
Chairman and chief executive Richard Fain said: “First quarter results were satisfactory given the difficult and uncertain operating environment and we continue to see gradual improvement in the demand for our great vacations.
“We did not expect the impact of the tragedy to be long term and we are seeing evidence the effects are waning.”
Chief financial officer Brian Rice added: “Despite the extraordinary disruptions to our booking patterns this year, thus far the recovery is consistent with our forecasts.
“The Caribbean and Alaska remain healthy and as expected, a wide range of outcomes still persist regarding Europe this summer.”
He described the marketplace as still being “volatile and uncertain”.
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