2023 Year in Review: Royal Caribbean Group

Icon of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean Group went through an eventful year in 2023, with the debut of new ships and a unique itinerary, an improved financial condition and more.

Here are the key highlights:

New Largest Cruise Ship in the World

Royal Caribbean International welcomed the world’s new largest cruise ship in 2023. Set to welcome its first guests in early 2024, the Icon of the Seas was delivered by the Meyer Turku shipyard in late November.

In addition to assuming the title of biggest cruise ship in the globe, the 250,000-ton vessel is also introducing several innovations to the company’s fleet, such as the largest water park at sea and the new AquaDome, a unique transformational venue featuring a huge waterfall.

After crossing the Atlantic with no guests onboard, the Icon of the Seas is set to depart on its inaugural cruise at the end of January.

 ‘Upbeat Forecast’

During the Group’s Q3 earnings call, Royal Caribbean’s executives presented a very upbeat forecast for the full year of 2023 and outlook for 2024.

With operations back to normal and strong demand, the company is expecting a full year adjusted EPS of $6.59 to $6.30 for 2023 and “at least $9” for 2024, according to Jason Liberty, CEO.

During the third quarter, the Royal Caribbean Group reported Earnings per Share of $3.65 and Adjusted EPS of $3.85, in addition to total revenues of $4.2 billion and a Net Income of $1.0 billion.

Longest Cruise Ever

In December, Royal Caribbean International kicked off its longest cruise ever. Sailing onboard the Serenade of the Seas, the 274-night Ultimate World Cruise includes visits more than 150 destinations in 65 countries, including several firsts for the company.

Sailing roundtrip from Miami, the itinerary is the first world cruise to be offered by Royal Caribbean and marks the company’s return to South America and the Middle East.

 Newbuilds for Celebrity and Silversea

Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises took delivery of newbuilds in 2023. A sister to the Celebrity Beyond, the Celebrity Ascent entered service in November.

Part of the company’s Edge Class, the 3,260-guest vessel is currently offering a series of cruises in the Caribbean for its maiden season.

Silversea welcomed the new Silver Nova to its fleet in August. A prototype, the new luxury vessel is described as one of the greenest cruise ships ever and uses new technologies that include a fuel cell system and dual fuel LNG engines.

Featuring what the cruise line calls a “revolutionary asymmetrical design,” the new ship offers different public areas, including a reimagined, outward-facing pool deck, an al fresco dining area, and more.

 Deployment Developments

Royal Caribbean International had deployment developments in 2023, with ships repositioning to different homeports and even a return to Latin America after almost one decade.

In December, the Rhapsody of the Seas marked the company’s return to the region with a series of week-long cruises departing from Colombia and Panama.

Royal Caribbean also introduced the Harmony of the Seas to Galveston, with the Oasis-Class vessel kicking off a year-round program at the Texas homeport.

Other developments include the arrival of the Vision of the Seas in Baltimore and the return of the Symphony of the Seas and the Enchantment of the Seas to Europe.

The Allure of the Seas became the first Oasis-Class ship to offer short cruises on a regular basis with a new deployment out of Port Canaveral.

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