In an interview with Yahoo Finance, the CEO of the world’s largest cruise company went into detail about where it currently stands in its resumption of operations, bookings, and guest capacity onboard. The update comes a week before Carnival Corporation plans to give an update on the last quarter results, something many investors will be looking forward too.
With half the fleet operating, booming demand for cruises, and a good number of ships operating at full capacity, the CEO believes the times ahead look positive. Then again, the continued cases of COVID-19 worldwide prompt the company to keep a close eye on the risks involved.
Demand for Cruising is Still Exceeding Expectations
In an interview on Yahoo Finance, Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, said the demand for cruises is exceeding the expectations of those in the industry. Currently, the company is sailing with roughly 50% of its total capacity. The good news is that Carnival is managing to sail a good number of these ships at full capacity.
Bookings continue to look good for Carnival, which operates 90 cruise ships worldwide, accounting for the industry’s largest share of available berths. And that’s not the only thing that looks good for Carnival Corporation. The recent spending boom that has been prevalent in the United States recently is also felt onboard, marking onboard spending as a valuable contribution for Carnival.
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Arnold Donald: “We’re seeing the same thing onboard the ships. Onboard spending is at an all-time high. Frankly, our onboard spending went up every year for 50 years except one. But this year it’s really on an individual basis, the spending is very robust. We’re very pleased with that, and we continue to listen to our guests and make available to them what they’re interested in.”
The positive booking and spending numbers will sound good for investors who are eagerly awaiting to see how the company has performed in the 4th quarter of 2021. Carnival Corporation has scheduled a conference call for Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, to provide a business update. You can read the most recent business update here.
Cruising Remains the Safest Vacation Option
Arnold Donald repeated what several other CEOs in the cruise industry have been saying for months now. Taking a cruise remains one of the safest options out there for people that want to take a vacation.
The cruise line requires at least 95% of the guests onboard to be fully vaccinated (typically, this number reaches far higher). At the same time, guests are also required to provide a negative test result before boarding, which the company is making much easier by providing additional testing facilities in the departure terminals.
“We’ve sailed with literally hundreds of thousands of guests now, we’ve had very few cases of COVID onboard, and in fact, we’ve had no incidents of significant propagation of COVID onboard. Right now, in the cruise industry we probably have the most effective procedures for mitigating COVID and the spread onboard than any other travel sector,” Donald added.
That being said, the CEO does understand that new variants that are constantly evolving worldwide, do mean the protocols are here to stay for now. Even in Europe, the company is seeing ports becoming more restrictive as fears over Omicron are growing on the continent, which has led to changing itineraries worldwide since the company started sailing in August of last year.
However, he does not feel that any cruisers have lost trust in the industry because of COVID. On the contrary, looking at the increased demand, many feel that taking a cruise is a much safer option than a land-based vacation.
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With the increase in vaccine mandates onboard and the development and increase of less intrusive testing procedures, the cruise industry remains at the forefront of an industry trying to get to terms with living with COVID. With eight out of nine brands operating worldwide (only P&O Australia is not operating currently) it certainly looks like Carnival Corporation is managing that situation just fine right now.