FILE PHOTO: The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying passengers who have tested positive for coronavirus is seen docked at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California, U.S. March 9, 2020.REUTERS/Kate Munsch/File Photo

Carnival Adds Over $2 Billion to Pandemic Losses with Eye on ‘Full Return’

Mike Schuler
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June 24, 2021

Carnival Corporation, the world’s top cruise company, reported another $2.1 billion in losses in the second quarter as it prepares for a phased restart of global cruise operations.

Carnival said it ended the second quarter 2021 with $9.3 billion of cash and short-term investments, which the company believes is sufficient liquidity to return to full operations possibly by next spring. Its cash burn in the first half of 2021 was better than forecasted primarily due to the timing of proceeds from ship sales and working capital changes.

Combined with more than $10 billion in losses in its fiscal year 2020 (ending November 30, 2020) and another $2 billion loss in the first quarter of 2021, this latest quarter performance brings Carnival’s total losses to over $14 billion to date since the first cruise ship outbreaks of COVID-19 and subsequent sailing suspensions.

The company this week announced schedules for the return of guest cruise operations for 42 ships across eight of its nine brands by November 30, 2021, representing over half of its available fleet. Carnival brands AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruise restarted limited cruises in Europe in March and May, while cruises from the U.S. are expected to begin in July and August.

“We are working aggressively on our path to return our full fleet to operations by next spring,” said Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald. “So far, we have announced that 42 ships, representing over half of our capacity, have been scheduled to return to serving guests by this fiscal year end. We are currently evaluating various deployment options with a focus on maximizing cash flow, while delivering a great guest experience and serving the best interests of public health.”

Looking at 2022, Carnival said advanced bookings for 2022 are “ahead of a very strong 2019,” resulting in customer deposits of $2.5 billion and $2.2 billion in the first and second quarters of 2021, respectively.

“Despite our minimal advertising spend, we continue to experience an acceleration in booking trends globally, including capturing significant latent demand for our new sailings this summer,” said Donald. “This strong demand affirms confidence in our future. In addition, customer deposits grew this past quarter, a significant milestone on our path to resumption.”

“With the aggressive actions we have already taken to optimize our portfolio and reduce capacity, we believe we are well positioned to capitalize on pent up demand and to emerge a leaner more efficient company, reinforcing our global industry leading position,” Donald added.

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