Lindblad: ‘Significant Increase in Advance Bookings,’ 2019 Newbuild Details

Lindblad Expeditions posted a smaller second quarter loss year-over-year, but Sven-Olof Lindblad, president and Chief Executive Officer, continues to exude confidence in the market.

On the company’s second quarter earnings call, Lindblad said reservations were up nearly 40 percent year-over-year for forward bookings, and there was growth across all segments.

“A significant increase in advance bookings has us extremely well positioned,” Lindblad said, noting the company had delivered its best booking day ever earlier this week.

Occupancy was down in the quarter, however, from 92 percent to 85 percent.

Lindblad attributed forward bookings to new ships, fresh marketing and additional vessels coming online in 2018 and 2019. 

He explained the company was close to finalizing a shipbuilding contract for a blue water ship to enter service in 2019.

“When in 2019 will depend on when we ultimately sign the deal,” noted CFO Craig Felenstein.

Ian T. Rogers, COO, said the company had already chosen a yard. He explained that they had narrowed it down to three finalists and had selected one, aiming to build the most sophisticated expedition vessel yet. 

“There has been no booking slow down for existing vessels,” Lindblad continued, adding the expedition market was still in its infancy, with tremendous growth potential.While the new National Geographic Quest will provide “significant contributions” to the bottom line later this year, a month of cancelled cruises will cost the company around $3.6 million, according to Felenstein. Later in the call, he said across the fleet, the yield target was $1,000 per night.

On the subject of pricing, Lindblad said the company had elected not to increase ticket pricing, and believed pricing is “where it should be,” with growth coming from inventory additions. 

Analysts covering the company are also growing in numbers. Just a handful of questions a year ago has turned into a much larger group of analysts and major institutions covering the expedition brand.

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