The late author David Foster Wallace once referred to taking a cruise as a supposedly fun thing he never wanted to do again, but it looks like many consumers disagree. Royal Caribbean said Wednesday that booking trends for next year are solid.
Royal Caribbean, which voluntarily suspended cruises in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reported a bigger loss for the first quarter than expected but sales that topped Wall Street's forecasts.
Shares of Royal Caribbean (RCL), which have plunged 70% this year, were down about 2% Wednesday. But Royal Caribbean said bookings for 2021 are within the usual historical range and prices for next year's cruises are up in the mid-single digits.
Of course, the rest of 2020 is likely a wash due to Covid-19. Royal Caribbean has already said that volumes for the rest of this year are "meaningfully lower" and that prices are down as well. But the company hopes to resume some cruises in mid-June and is planning more stringent safety and cleaning procedures in conjunction with the CDC.
"We understand that when our ships return to service, they will be sailing in a changed world. How well we anticipate and solve for this new environment will play a critical role in keeping our guests and crew safe and healthy," said Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain.
Cruise companies have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus because several of them had passengers test positive for Covid-19. Shares of Carnival (CCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) have also plummeted more than 70% this year.
Norwegian said in its latest earnings report that it also was expecting healthy demand in 2021. But investors are still extremely nervous, especially since the three major cruise lines were not eligible for federal government stimulus money.