NCLH: Strong Outlook Across the Board

Higher ticket pricing and onboard spend helped drive Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) Q1 results, according to President and CEO Frank Del Rio, who spoke on today’s earnings call. With forward bookings at similar levels to last year, despite more capacity, and at higher pricing, Del Rio said that he expects the full year to be the seventh consecutive year of double digit earnings growth for NCLH.

The company upped its adjusted earnings forecast for the year to $5.40 to $5.50 from $5.20 to $5.30 given in February.

Also driving growth is the company’s development of new markets such, as Australia, Israel and Brazil, according to Del Rio, while Germany and the UK have shown double-digit booking increases over the past eight weeks.

Another contributing factor was the Joy’s exit from what Del Rio called the lower yielding Chinese market to Alaska, which he said is the brand’s highest yielding market.

Q4 is also expected to be strong for the Norwegian brand with the introduction of the new Norwegian Encore in the Caribbean, which Mark Kempa, CFO, said was on track to be best booked Caribbean ship in the fleet ever.

According to Del Rio, Oceania and the Regent Seven Seas also show what he called stellar booking performance with very little inventory left to sell for 2019 and 40 percent sold already for 2020, which, he said, is more early bookings than for previous years and at higher pricing.

Del Rio also cited macro economic factors that continue to bolster consumer confidence for the industry. With strong U.S. GDP growth reported for Q1, he said confident consumers are willing to spend more on vacations.

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