Skift Take

Carnival is riding a global wave of consumer interest in cruise experiences. The company doesn't see any signs of a slowdown.

Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator, reported record future bookings in the second quarter. It signaled robust demand for cruise travel in 2025 despite broader economic uncertainties.

The Miami-based company said post-2024 reservations outpace current-year bookings in the quarter, with both new and repeat customers up 10% year-over-year.

This surge in advance bookings, coupled with firmer pricing for upcoming quarters, suggested that the cruise industry’s recovery is accelerating beyond expectations.

Cruise Prices Stay Firm

Bookings and pricing for 2025 are ahead of where 2024 was at this time last year, indicating continued strong demand and pricing power.

“In the last 3 months, not only did we take more bookings for post-2024 sailings than we did for in-year sailings, we set yet another record for the most future bookings ever taken during the second quarter,” said Josh Weinstein, CEO and president of Carnival Corp. 

“In the near term, pricing on bookings taken in the second quarter has continued to run considerably higher for each of the third and fourth quarters,” Weinstein said.

New offerings may help sustain strong pricing. The company’s new Celebration Key private island, should drive incremental ticket prices, onboard spending, and fuel savings, executives said.

To keep prices firm, the company seeks an optimal booking curve length with better revenue management practices on a granular level (ship by ship, sailing by sailing). This practice has been more lucrative than the past habit of trying to “extend the booking window,” meaning, getting customers to book their cruises earlier than they typically would.

Brand Family Mostly Strong

Weinstein said the company sees momentum across its brands. “It is global momentum. We’re seeing strength from our North American brands, from our European brands, as you started hearing me say probably about 6 quarters ago,” said Weinstein.

Sunsetting One Brand

Carnival Corp. is sunsetting the P&O Cruises Australia brand by selling the 28-year-old Pacific Explorer and transferring P&O Australia’s two remaining vessels to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet.

Uncertainty About Greece

Weinstein isn’t worried about ongoing discussions in the Greece government to put restrictions on cruise ships visiting Greece’s most popular islands. 

“These islands have had caps in place for many years, and we work with them. We’ll continue to work with them as we can really figure out how to coincide with their needs as well. I mean, that’s our job,” he said. “I don’t expect anything incredibly disruptive.”

If Greece had put new restrictions in place, its impact would be limited, the CEO said.

“It’s a relatively small part of our overall mix,” he said. “You’re talking low single-digit percentages, but it’s important to us, and we want to show up, and we want to show up well.”

Key Financial Indicators in the Second Quarter

Carnival had a robust quarter, with record revenues, yields, operating income, and customer deposits. It met analyst expectations on most key metrics as management balanced cost savings with reinvestment in the business, particularly in areas like marketing and onboard experiences.

  • Net income rose by $500 million, year-over-year.
  • The company prepaid $1.6 billion of debt and repriced $2.75 billion of debt facilities.

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 cruise line, cruise earnings, earnings

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