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Norwegian CEO: Meaningfully and Significantly Better Booked

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) brands are meaningfully and significantly better booked and ahead on pricing as well for the second half of 2022 and 2023, according to Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, who spoke on today’s third quarter earnings call.

He described 2022 as a sequential year with the back half looking much better than the first half.

NCLH plans to have 17 ships or 73 percent of its capacity sailing by the end of 2021, and the full fleet of 28 ships in service by the end of April for Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania and Regent.

The brands carried approximately 60,000 passengers during the third quarter according to Mark Kempa, executive vice president and CFO, which is expected to increase to 150,000 to 175,000 during the fourth quarter, and approximately 300,000 for the first quarter of 2022.

In line with the other major publicly traded companies, NCLH also reported record onboard spending at 20 percent higher than in 2019. 

Del Rio cautioned, however, that this may reflect the pent-up demand as well as the cabin mix, and may not be indicative of a long-term trend.

Del Rio also underlined his brands’ strong pricing, which, he said, helps offset inflationary pressures, while representing a compelling vacation proposition.

“We are fixated on pricing,” he added, noting that some peer brands that had dropped pricing had spent a decade to recover.

Also, driving margins going forward, the new ships being introduced are more efficient and have more higher priced accommodations, according to Kempa.

NCLH has nine vessels on order for deliveries through 2027 which will boost its capacity by approximately 50 percent from an estimated 19,000 berth days to 29,000, according to the company’s third quarter presentation (and its annual passenger capacity from an estimated 2.4 million in 2019 to more than 3.5 million om 2027, according to 2021 Cruise Industry News Annual Report).

In other comments, Del Rio noted that for the Oceania and Regent brands it is expected that the more exotic destinations in Asia and South America will be open by the fall of 2022 and winter of 2022-2023 when the ships go there after spending the summer in Europe and Alaska/

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