NCLH: Pricing and Bookings at Record Levels

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings entered 2019 in a record booked position at record pricing, according to Frank del Rio, president and CEO, speaking on the company’s year-end and fourth quarter earnings call.

“And while it is still early in the overall booking cycle, the strong demand we are experiencing across all brands and across all markets is also spilling over into 2020, with the company’s three brands now substantially better booked and at higher prices than at this time last year for 2019,” said del Rio.

The booking curve for the three-brand company has extended by nine percent over last year, with advanced ticket sales up 22 percent, del Rio said, noting later in the call that pushing the booking curve and raising price at the same time was good for business.

“The underlying strength of this booking curve is best observed in our Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, where each line is now better than 80 percent booked for 2019 sailing and nearly one-third booked for 2020 sailings, all at meaningfully higher prices to the previous years.”

That also means that Regent and Oceania are now pivoting their own marketing programs toward 2020 and earlier in the year than ever before to build a base for 2020 sailings.

Capacity growth should not be a concern, del Rio said, pointing to the Bliss, Joy and Encore which were introduced over a span of 18 months and represented a 24 percent spike in company capacity.

“But to also be able to absorb Norwegian Joy’s deployment to Alaska and the Mexican Riviera, and to do so with a sales window that is only nine months or half as long as that of a typical ship introduction while still delivering strong pricing, should completely dispel any overcapacity fears at least as they pertain to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings,” del Rio said.

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