Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has provided a business update on the impacts of COVID-19 and its continued resumption of cruise operations.
In the third quarter of 2021, the company said began a phased relaunch of certain cruise voyages with ships initially operating at reduced occupancy levels. By the end of the third quarter, it said it operated vessels totaling approximately 40% of our berth capacity.
Beginning in December 2021, the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, with its increased transmissibility, caused several operational challenges and disruptions, including new travel restrictions and increased protocols in ports of call limiting port availability, which led to the cancellation of certain voyages in the fourth quarter of 2021 and first quarter of 2022, and the postponement of the restart of certain vessels.
“As of the date hereof, 16 of our 28 ships, or 70% of our berth capacity, are operating with guests on board. This excludes a vessel which was paused from service beginning December 2021 due to the cancellation of its South Africa and related itineraries as a result of travel restrictions and other operational challenges due to the Omicron variant. We expect to have approximately 85% of berth capacity operating by the end of the first quarter of 2022 with the full fleet expected to be back in operation during the early part of the second quarter of 2022,” the company said, in a press release.
Norwegian said net booking volumes in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2021 continued to demonstrate week-over-week sequential growth after the slowdown in booking activity caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Net booking volumes in the later part of the fourth quarter 2021 were negatively impacted by the Omicron variant of COVID-19, primarily for close-in voyages in the first and second quarters of 2022.
In recent weeks, net booking volumes have continued to improve sequentially, the company said.
As a result of the impacts from Omicron, as of February 6, 2022, the company’s cumulative booked position for the first half of 2022 is below the extraordinarily strong levels of 2019 while the second half, when the full fleet is expected to be back in operation, is in line with the comparable 2019 period.
Concurrently, pricing for the first half, second half and full year 2022 are above the record levels for the same time in 2019, even when including the dilutive impact of future cruise credits. Booking trends for 2023 demonstrate continued strong demand for sailings in the medium and longer term with booked position and pricing meaningfully higher and at record levels when compared to 2019, Norwegian said.
“We continue to take proactive measures to enhance liquidity and financial flexibility in the current environment. As of September 30, 2021, our total debt position was $12.4 billion and our liquidity, consisting of cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments, was $1.9 billion,” the company added.
The company said it cannot estimate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, financial condition or near- or longer-term financial or operational results with certainty.
“We will report a net loss for the fourth quarter and full year ending December 31, 2021 and expect to report a net loss until we are able to resume regular voyages. As a result of Omicron variant-related impacts to operations in the first quarter of 2022, we now expect net cash provided by operating activities to be positive during the second quarter of 2022. Despite the impact of the Omicron variant on the booking environment, and based on our current projections and market and public health conditions, we expect to have positive Adjusted Net Income1 for the second half of 2022.”