“We simply don’t see any weakness,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
“We’ve seen very strong record, new record booking levels, dating back to November. And it’s our view that as long as consumers have a job and the labor markets remain strong, that they’ll continue spending on the things they normally spend their money on, including vacations. So, we simply don’t see a weakening consumer,” he said, speaking on the company’s year-end and fourth quarter earnings call.
“If you look at our forward bookings, each quarter in 2023 is better booked than the comparable quarter in 2019. And even if you start looking into 2024, it’s never too early to talk about next year. 2024 bookings are running ahead at higher prices than they were at the same time in 2019 for 2020, which before the pandemic. So, we simply haven’t seen any indication that the consumer is shying away from taking cruise vacations, at least not with our three brands.”
The company holds pricing, according to Del Rio.
“We’ve seen what happened to others when the discounting goes too far, it takes years, if not decades to be able to climb back up that slippery hill,” he advised.
“So, if marketing was the cost of maintaining our industry-leading yields and it was well worth it. And we turned the year in our best booked position ever.”
Del Rio continued. “Now, we believe that we’ve got momentum back. We had to create momentum. The industry was on its knees. We hadn’t operated the full fleet in two years, zero revenue for 500 days. So, we had to stimulate the market. And you can do it one of two ways in my estimation, you can discount and you can give away the product or you can market and we chose to market.”
With momentum regained and strong bookings, he said the company would start to par back marketing spend.