Carnival Corporation has reported a net loss of $2.2 billion for the fourth quarter of 2020 as the Covid crisis continues to take its toll on cruising.

The cruise giant said cumulative advanced bookings for the first half of 2022 are ahead of 2019, despite minimal advertising or marketing.

Arnold Donald, president and chief executive, said: “2020 has proven to be a true testament to the resilience of our company.

“We took aggressive actions to implement and optimise a complete pause in our guest cruise operations across all brands globally, and developed protocols to begin our staggered resumption, first in Italy for our Costa brand, then followed by Germany for our Aida brand.

“We are now working diligently towards resuming operations in Asia, Australia, the UK and the US over the course of 2021.

“With the aggressive actions we have taken, managing the balance sheet and reducing capacity, we are well positioned to capitalise on pent-up demand and to emerge a leaner, more efficient company, reinforcing our industry-leading position.”

Carnival has also accelerated the removal of 19 less efficient ships, 15 of which have already left the fleet.

The 19 ships represent approximately 13% of pre-pause capacity and 3% of operating income in 2019.

Donald added: “The booking trends that we have consistently experienced throughout this period affirm the strong fundamental demand for our brands which will facilitate our staggered resumption and support the long-term growth of our company.”

David Bernstein, chief financial officer said: “We ended the year with $9.5 billion in cash and have the liquidity in place to sustain ourselves throughout 2021, even in a zero-revenue environment.”

MoreCarnival Corporation confident over long-term cruise demand