Cruise firm sails into calmer waters

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Royal Caribbean Cruises reported lower quarterly earnings but raised its full-year forecast yesterday, saying bookings have been stronger than expected and it has been able to charge more per cruise.

In January, a ship operated by larger rival Carnival, the Costa Concordia, ran aground off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people and leading to a reduction in bookings and prices industrywide.

But Royal Caribbean, the world’s second-largest cruise operator, said yesterday that the effect of that accident “has continued to wane” and that bookings in the third quarter were stronger than it had expected, even in Europe, where the Costa Concordia accident made headlines for months.

Royal Caribbean now expects 2012 earnings of $1.85 to $1.95 per share, 15 cents higher than its previous forecast range and above the $1.78 that analysts were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters.

The company also expects revenue yield, which reflects how much money each cabin generates beyond the cruise ticket itself, to be up 3 per cent for the year, excluding the effects of currency.

“We are still seeing price increases in a year marked by so many external pressures,” chief executive officer Richard Fain said.

Royal Caribbean did not provide a forecast for 2013, but said it was “encouraged” by what it is seeing for bookings for next year.

Royal Caribbean’s third-quarter net income fell to $367.8m, or $1.68 per share, on revenue of $2.26bn, from $399m, or $1.82 per share, on revenue of $2.32bn a year earlier.