A plain sailing summer gave Carnival Corporation a record third quarter with net profits up to $1.4 billion against $1.2 billion a year earlier.
The increased income came despite revenues remaining constant at $4.9 billion for the three months to August 31.
The cruise giant cited higher occupancy levels, increased ticket prices and higher levels on onboard spending for the improved financial performance over the peak summer months.
Forward bookings are 20% up year-on-year for the first half of 2016, but at lower dollar prices.
President and chief executive, Arnold Donald, said: “In 2015, we are on track to achieve a nearly 35% earnings improvement and we are accelerating progress toward achieving double-digit return on invested capital in the next three to four years.
“Our improved performance has driven even stronger operating cash, which is expected to exceed $4 billion this year.
“We remain committed to further enhancing shareholder returns as demonstrated by our recent 20% increase in quarterly dividends.”
He added: “Looking forward to 2016, we have driven a significant lengthening of the booking curve and have less inventory remaining for the first half of 2016 than at this time last year, which bodes well for continued year-over-year revenue yield improvement.
“Although we already have a solid base of business for next year, we are working hard to maintain the momentum through our ongoing initiatives to create additional demand.”
Reviewing the third quarter, Donald said: “Net revenue yields improved 5% from the prior year benefiting from strong demand which led to higher occupancy levels, increased ticket prices and increased onboard spending.
“Clearly our ongoing investments in the guest experience, combined with our global marketing and public relations efforts along with our initiatives to leverage our scale are having a positive impact.”
Donald went on to tell analysts on a conference call that travel from continental Europe, not just cruise, had been hit hardest by a “macro-economic malaise” together with intense tension over the refugee situation and geopolitical issues.
However, he added that the group’s European brands had performed well during the period.
“I don’t want to leave an impression like they are stumbling and bumbling or anything, they performed well,” he said, indicating improved yields and more repeat passengers.
The 175th anniversary year for Cunard had been “very successful” for the brand.
“We had the spectacular launch of Britannia which helped elevate the entire P&O brand so the UK did well, very well, this year,” Donald added.
He described the European brands as doing better collectively than they have in the past “and we expect that to continue despite the challenges”.
Donald disclosed plans to create a common yield/revenue management platform initially across six unspecified brands.
“Each of the brands have their own revenue management system today, very different platforms, some are more sophisticated than others. So this will be an overall enhancement.”
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