News: Carnival reports $2bn loss as return gathers pace

Carnival Corporation has reported a net loss of US$2 billion for the first quarter of 2021.

The company was forced to halt all sailings in March last year as the Covid-19 pandemic spread around the world and has yet to return in many markets.

However, Carnival said the cash burn rate in the first quarter was better than expected as the company identified and implemented opportunities to optimise its monthly spend.

The group currently expects six of its nine brands to resume limited guest cruise operations by this summer.

Aida resumed operations in March sailing in the Canary Islands, while Costa began sailing to Italian ports in May.

P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises will each offer a series of UK cruises this summer, while Seabourn expects to offer trips sailing from Greece.

Carnival Corporation chief executive, Arnold Donald, noted: “We are focused on resuming operations as quickly as practical, while at the same time demonstrating prudent stewardship of capital and doing so in a way that serves the best interests of public health.

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“Our highest responsibility and therefore our top priority is always compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and well-being of everyone.”

Donald added: “Our portfolio of brands have clearly been an asset as we resume operations this summer with nine ships across six of our brands.”

Carnival said booking volumes for all future cruises during the first quarter of 2021 were approximately 90 per cent higher than volumes during the fourth quarter of last year.

Donald added: “Throughout the pause we have been positioning Carnival Corporation to return to serving guests an operationally stronger company than we were before.

“With an exciting roster of six new, more efficient ships by December and with lower capacity from the exit of 19 less efficient ships, we expect to capitalize on pent-up demand and achieve significant cost improvement from the greater efficiency of our fleet, along with ongoing streamlining of shoreside operations.”

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