Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings slimmed its pandemic-driven quarterly loss while gradually bringing all 28 ships back onto the water.
The Miami cruise ship owner on Tuesday reported a $1bn net loss for the first quarter, an improvement on $1.4bn in red ink during the same time frame in 2021.
Adjusted net loss came in at $761m, deeper than the $669m logged a year earlier, resulting in an adjusted loss per share of $1.82 that missed analyst consensus by $0.29 per share yet beat the year-ago loss per share by $0.21.
As a result of resuming cruise voyages, first-quarter revenue bounded to $522m from just $3.1m in revenue collected during the first three months of 2021.
New York-listed Norwegian actually returned its entire fleet to cruising three days ago when Norwegian Spirit boarded passengers in Papeete, Tahiti.
“Last week we reached the biggest milestone yet in our Great Cruise Comeback,” chief executive Frank Del Rio said in a statement.
The ships are still not sailing at full capacity yet as a result of Covid-19’s Omicron surge and the Russia-Ukraine conflict kept first-quarter bookings below pre-pandemic levels, but consumers are still showing a strong interest in cruising, he added.
“We are encouraged that consumer demand remains robust with net booking volumes not only back to pre-Omicron levels but now approaching historical levels despite a temporary retreat due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he said.
“Pricing remains very strong for all future periods and our value-add bundling strategy is working better than ever.”
Norwegian had to cancel or change about 60 sailings in 2022 as a result of the war, including voyages with calls to ports in Russia.
But the company said it “reached a significant financial inflection point in March” when operating cash flow returned to positive since the pandemic came in early 2020.
It also noted that bookings should reach pre-pandemic levels by this year’s fourth quarter at higher prices and continue to improve during 2023.
Advance ticket revenue rose $418m to $2.2bn during the quarter, but Norwegian is still $13.6bn in debt and spent about $390m per month.
And first-quarter operating costs ballooned by 266% to $735m compared to a year ago due to higher expenses related to payroll, fuel, food and inflation.
Though the company’s entire fleet is back in service and bookings are expected to improve, Norwegian still expects to incur a financial loss for the second quarter.