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Carnival is the first cruise line to note the potential impact of the tragic Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse on the industry. A key port will be temporarily unavailable.

Carnival Corp. executives told investors Wednesday that a tragic bridge collapse in Baltimore might cost the cruise line operator up to $10 million this year.

During a first-quarter earnings call, David Bernstein, chief financial officer of Carnival Cruise Corporation, said the cruise line operator may lose “up to $10 million for the full year 2024 from the temporary change in home port.” Bernstein referred to a possible impact on adjusted net income and adjusted EBITDA.

On March 26, the Francis Scott Key Bridge connecting Baltimore and Dundalk in Maryland collapsed after a container ship struck one of its pillars. 

The deadly event stopped ship traffic at a port Carnival uses. One of the company’s Carnival Cruise Line ships ordinarily sails year-round out of Baltimore. Executives said the ship will temporarily be based in Norfolk, Virginia.

Carnival Alters Red Sea Itineraries

Carnival Cruise took a $130 million hit from rerouting itineraries that touch the Red Sea due to ongoing hostilities from the Houthi, Bernstein said.

Improved performance of the company’s itineraries in the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe helped offset the hit.

Strong Bookings Despite Higher Prices

Executives didn’t expect the Baltimore bridge collapse or Red Sea issues to dent the company’s overall outlook, thanks to a rising wave of strong customer demand worldwide.

Booking volumes for future trips recently hit peaks despite this year’s higher prices.

“Even with less inventory available for the remainder of the year, booking volumes hit an all-time high, driven by demand for 2025 sailings and beyond,” said Josh Weinstein, president, CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corp.

Occupancy Growth

Carnival’s occupancy increased by 11 percentage points year over year during the quarter. Both European and North American brands saw positive growth.

“At the same time, we saw outsized growth in occupancy of nearly 20 percentage points at our European brands on their path back to historical occupancy,” said Weinstein. “Our North American brands’ occupancy grew strongly at single digits.”

Guest Upsells Accelerate

Onboard revenue increased from last year thanks to strong pre-cruise sales, which are purchases of goods and services before the ship sets sail.

“We saw a double-digit increase in terms of the percent of pre-cruise sales of onboard revenue in the first quarter,” Weinstein said.

Mixed Quarter

In the first quarter, Carnival welcomed 3 million guests. It generated $5.4 billion in revenue, a record for the company. Carnival experienced a net loss of $214 million in the quarter.

Carnival to Expand Fleet

Carnival Cruise expects to expand its fleet again.

“We’re talking about one to two ships a year starting in 2027,” said Weinstein. “There won’t be another one in 2027. That will be what we’ve got. As far as 2028 goes, could there be another one? It’s not closed, but I wouldn’t necessarily bank on it either.”

More of Carnival’s Guests Are New to Cruises

First-time cruise guests rose 30% in the first quarter over last year. 

“We have been improving our ‘casting of the net’ to go beyond brand repeaters and going into those new to cruising,” said Weinstein.

Cruise and Tours Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of cruise and tours sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including both cruise lines and tour operators.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more cruise and tours sector financial performance.

Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.


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Tags: carnival corp., cruise, cruise earnings

Photo credit: Carnival could lose up $10 million due to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge John Bell / Unsplash

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