Carnival Corporation expects to return to profitability in the second half of 2022, according to Arnold Donald, president and CEO, who spoke on Monday’s fourth quarter business update conference call.
And for 2023, he expects EBITDA to be higher than it was in 2019.
Carnival already turned cash positive in November, according to David Bernstein, CFO, a month ahead of expectations.
Increased operating expenses for 2022 are due to restart and drydock costs and are not expected to reoccur in 2023.
Forward bookings for the second half of 2022 and for 2023 are at the high end of historical ranges and at higher prices, said Bernstein.
Carnival is ramping up its return to service and will have 14.1 million available lower berth days (ALB) in the first quarter of 2022, 17.8 million in the second quarter, 23.0 million in the third quarter and 23.1 million in the fourth quarter.
Marketing campaigns are in the process of being launched for all the brands as they go into Wave Season, according to Donald.
So far, fleet wide occupancy has been 67 percent with Carnival Cruise Line taking the lead at 90 percent, “outperforming both on occupancy and pricing,” Donald said.
Looking forward, he noted that the fleet will benefit from the exit of older ships leading to a 4 percent reduction in ship unit operating costs. They are being replaced by new, larger and more efficient ships with a richer mix of premium-priced cabins.
“We are resuming service as a more efficient company,” Donald said.
The overall goal is to maximize cash generation and deliver double digit return on investment while returning the company to investment grade, Donald said.