Norwegian Cruise Line Misses Forecasts, Sees Strong 2022

Norwegian Cruise Line missed fourth-quarter estimates but says 2022 booking trends are positive, driven by strong pent-up demand.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings  (NCLH) - Get Report on Thursday reported a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss but offered positive guidance for 2022, as the cruise operator tries to look beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of the Miami company at last check were off 2.7% to $30.43.

Peer cruise operator Royal Caribbean Group  (RCL) - Get Report was off 3.3% at $93.44, while Carnival Corp.  (CCL) - Get Report was off 1% at $26.74.

Norwegian reported a net loss of $758.9 million, or $2.51 a share, compared with net income of $121.3 million, or 56 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. 

The adjusted loss came to $2.33 per share, compared with the FactSet consensus for a loss of $2.17. 

Revenue tumbled 99% to $9.6 million from $1.48 billion, but it still came in ahead of FactSet's call for $2.6 million.

The monthly average cash burn for fourth-quarter 2020 was about $190 million. At Dec. 31 the company had cash and cash equivalents of $3.3 billion.

Last week, Norwegian said it was extending its suspension of voyages through the end of May.

“Looking ahead, we are encouraged by the accelerating rollout of vaccines, the progress towards herd immunity and the strong demand for future cruise vacations," Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, said in a statement.

While overall booking volumes since the COVID-19 global pandemic emerged remain below historical levels, Norwegian said it continues to see demand for future cruise vacations.

The company said 2022 booking trends are very positive, driven by strong pent-up demand, although it is still early in the booking cycle.

Norwegian sees "robust future demand across all brands" with the overall cumulative booked position for the first half of 2022 significantly ahead of 2019’s record levels.

While sales and marketing investment are down and the travel-agency industry has not been at full strength for months, Norwegian said, bookings for future periods  have been strong. Customers are booking further into the future, the company said. 

Norwegian said overall cumulative booked position for second-half 2021 remains below historical levels because the timing of the resumption of cruising is uncertain and limited marketing investments have been shifted to 2022 sailings.

Pricing for the second half of 2021 is in line with pre-pandemic levels, even after including the dilutive impact of future cruise credits, the company said.