Norwegian Cruise Line sees strong demand for 2022 sailings; posts bigger loss
FILE PHOTO: Tourists ride inside a vintage car as they pass by the Norwegian Sky cruise ship, operated by Norwegian Cruise Lines in Havana, Cuba, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
(Reuters) — Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE:NCLH) Holdings Ltd, which is set to resume sailing from U.S. ports over the weekend, said it was seeing pent-up demand for 2022 cruises even as it reported a bigger quarterly loss on Friday.
A more than yearlong suspension imposed by U.S. health officials forced cruise operators to raise billions of dollars, with some of them even pledging ships and private islands to stay afloat.
Cruise operators have been sailing from U.S. ports again in recent weeks, with mostly vaccinated guests and crew following lengthy talks with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Norwegian Cruise said cumulative booked position for 2022 was above record levels and at higher prices.
Rival Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) Group said on Wednesday bookings for 2022 cruises were «practically back» to pre-pandemic levels.
Norwegian Cruise expects its monthly cash burn to increase to about $285 million in the third quarter, compared with about $200 million on average during the second quarter, due to cruise restart-related expenses.
Norwegian Cruise, which expects all its 28 ships to restart operations with guests by April next year, said its Norwegian Gem ship will sail from Miami on Aug. 15.
The company on Friday also heads to federal court in a battle that pits its plan for returning to the seas against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s vow to oppose COVID-19 «vaccine passports».
As part of Norwegian Cruise’s plan to guard against a COVID-19 outbreak, the company will require passengers to prove they have been vaccinated, but banning anyone who refuses to prove their vaccine status will run afoul of Florida’s law.
The company’s net loss widened to $717.8 million in the second quarter ended June 30, from $715.2 million a year earlier.
Norwegian Cruise’s shares were down about 1% at $24 in premarket trading.