Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company operating nine cruise lines and over 80 cruise ships, has provided a business update that covered everything from the elimination of cruise ships to bookings for 2021.
Carnival is now eliminating a total of 18 less efficient cruise ships, five more than originally announced. This represents a 12% reduction of pre-pause capacity. Eight of these 18 cruise ships have already left Carnival’s fleet.
Costa became the first of Carnival’s cruise lines to resume service earlier this month. A second, AIDA Cruises, will restart sailings during the fall of 2020.
Carnival said that advanced bookings for the second half of 2021 are currently at the higher end of the historical range, despite the company spending little on advertising and marketing. This shows that the demand for cruises is there once sailings resume from North America.
Carnival has paused new ship orders, leaving the company with no new deliveries in 2024 and only one new cruise ship in 2025. Carnival will now receive only two of four new ships that were planned for 2020. The other two will be delivered in 2021.
The company currently expects only five of the nine ships originally scheduled for delivery in fiscal 2020 and 2021 to be delivered prior to the end of fiscal year 2021. The company currently expects 9 cruise ships and 2 smaller expedition ships of the 13 ships originally scheduled for delivery prior to the end of fiscal year 2022 to be delivered by then.
Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, “Just six months after we paused cruise operations across our global fleet, this past weekend, we successfully completed our first seven day cruise on our Italian brand Costa. Soon a second of our nine World’s Leading Cruise Lines’ brands will resume guest operations, our German sourced brand AIDA.
“Our business relies solely on leisure travel which we believe has historically proven to be far more resilient than business travel and cannot be easily replaced with video conferencing and other means of technology.
“With two thirds of our guests repeat cruisers each year, we believe the reduction in capacity leaves us well positioned to take advantage of the proven resiliency of, and the pent up demand for cruise travel – as evidenced by our being at the higher end of historical booking curves for the second half of 2021.”