Cruise Cancellations Seen as Short-term Hurdle for Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions has seen a rise in cancellations, according to Dolf Berle, CEO, speaking on the company’s third quarter earnings call.

“Another item that impacted the quarter, along with parts of 2023 is an increase in guest cancellations,” he said. “While gross bookings continue to far exceed cancellations every week, we are seeing cancellations run higher than pre-pandemic levels, with the most often noted reasons related to the logistics and cost of air travel and some lingering COVID concerns.

“The majority of these cancellations are not looking for refunds but are pushing their voyages to later dates, which speaks to the robust and sustainable demand for expedition travel,” Berle explained, noting that the company’s lenient cancellation policy brought on by the pandemic was part of the season for the higher number of cancellations.

“We have reinstituted a more strict cancellation policy now,” he added. “And so a lot of what we’re seeing in terms of any cancellations above previous levels are really just the remnants of people who booked under the policy that was more lenient in recent months, and that’s now calming down quite a bit. But yes, we’ve returned to a more strict cancellation policy.”

Craig Felenstein, CFO, said that most of the bookings were being moved to late 2023 or early 2024.

“With regards to the trend that we’re seeing, actually, it has improved pretty much every week since we reported earnings back in early part of August for Q2. What we have not seen yet is to return to the same levels that it was prior to the pandemic. So the trend is actually very much a positive with regards to how it’s done over the last several months, but it is not quite back to the level where we want it to be back pre-pandemic levels.”

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