cruise bulletin - maritime - bermello ajamil-01

How did 2022 end up and what happens next in 2023

2022 was a monumental transition year where operators placed ships back in operation throughout the first half of the year.  After almost three years of uncertainty, the restart was successful, but with mixed results by markets and brands. 

What happens next in 2023 with the cruise industry that now has its fleet back in operation? This bulletin explores where the industry is today, compares 2022 metrics with those in 2019, and provides guidance as to what 2023 will look like – its challenges and opportunities.

Capacity – Despite the retirement of many of the older vessels from the fleets, today the industry is larger with more lower berth capacity than in 2019.

Passengers – Given the current trajectory of sailings and capacities, it is all but anticipated that 2023 will see a full year of recovery in terms of passenger numbers (and revenues). In fact, 2023 could even exceed the overall industry passenger numbers of 2019.

Debt – All three major listed cruise companies have more than doubled the amount of total debt. As a result of the debt, operators are executing somewhat different strategies going forward, but among common themes are:

    • A focus on operational profitability by looking at every part of the operations to achieve this target.
    • A reduction in capital spending by reducing or temporarily halting planned capital spending on non-essential projects.
    • Leveraging and partnering by looking for ways to attract capital or partners to achieve certain programs.

While this may negatively impact or delay growth strategies, particularly as it relates to investments in ships (as can be seen with ships on order 2019 v. 2022), technology, and the expansion of land-based developments, these operators have not announced any cancelations to date.

Instead, what is being seen is an evolution in the cruise business streamlining business to maximize profit and reduce cash demand. Investments in infrastructure will need to be carried out more by the destinations or third parties, to fill the gap in infrastructure development while the major cruise lines remain capital constrained.

Below find a comparison of key metrics of 2019 versus 2022 – such as passengers carried, occupancy levels, berths, ships, and more – based on the annual report data published by Carnival Corp (CCL), RCG, and NCLH.

*BA database estimate. Carnival’s year-end report did not include actuals.

Key Takeaways

  • Of these key stats, RCG and CCL show passengers down with a proportional decrease in total revenues in 2019 and 2022. NCLH, however, shows revenues did better and did not decrease to the same level as passenger figures.
  • All lines report strong consumer demand and can resume “full” operations in certain markets. (This has been the subject of a past Bulletin). The percentage of operators’ revenues increased significantly in North America and Europe. According to the CFO of RCG, the company’s North America-based itineraries are showing strong booking trends. Meanwhile, the company’s European itineraries are also showing positive signs, with bookings within historical ranges and catching up.
  • Total debt has doubled or tripled across all operators.
  • Operators have restructured debt and have delayed new ship orders as they focused on restart efforts initially, and at present, on strengthening their balance sheets.
  • Operating expenses affect profitability and resilience in the face of mounting debt payments. In 2022 expense per passenger has increased significantly for Carnival and NCLH. The main factors affecting this were:
    • Fuel prices were a key driver behind the increase in operating expenses for the big three cruise companies.
    • Lower occupancy levels as ships were not sailing at “typical” occupancy levels.
  • As a result, the big three are hard at work to manage their costs and increase profitability. Among actions taken by some of the lines include layoffs, revisions of itineraries to reduce fuel costs, shifting ships from weekly itineraries to shorter itineraries, and many others. Each company commented that higher cruise costs are expected to normalize in 2023.

BA Maritime

CRUISE BULLETINS

How CII Could Impact Ports & Itineraries

The Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), introduced by the IMO in 2023, measures the environmental efficiency of ships by evaluating CO2 emissions per nautical mile traveled…

Q1 2024 Earnings Report Summary

In the first quarter of 2024, the leading public cruise corporation Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) have set a promising tone for the remainder of 2024

Q4 2023 Earnings Report Summary

The leading public cruise corporations—Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian—concluded 2023 on a high note, as demonstrated by their Q4 earnings reports.

Unveiling BA’s 2024 Comprehensive Cruise Itinerary Insights

BA unveils its expansive 2024 cruise itinerary database, spanning 13,700 sailings across 47 brands and 320 ships globally…

With 2023 coming to a close, BA explores what is in store for 2024

With 2023 coming to a close, BA explores what is in store for 2024…

Q3 2023 Earnings Call Summary

With the final earnings report for Q3 2023 released by the last of the big three public Cruise Corporations yesterday…

Shore Power Adoption in the Cruise Industry

One key technology and noteworthy initiative is the adoption of Shore Side Electricity (SSE) or shore power. In BA’s previous bulletins…

Q2 2023 Earnings Report Summary

With the last of the big three public companies wrapping up their Q2 2023 earnings reports in the past weeks, it’s time for BA’s summary of the key takeaways and themes trending today.

The Port’s Role in the Decarbonization of the Cruise (& Shipping) Industry

In our last bulletin, we talked about the cruise industry’s push toward decarbonization, and the exploration of various alternative fuel options such as LNG, methanol, and biofuels. The key takeaway was that decarbonization will be a collaborative effort across the entire maritime industry…

cruise bulletin - maritime - bermello ajamil-02

How did 2022 end up and what happens next in 2023

2022 was a monumental transition year where operators placed ships back in operation throughout the first half of the year.  After almost three years of uncertainty, the restart was successful, but with mixed results by markets and brands. 

What happens next in 2023 with the cruise industry that now has its fleet back in operation? This bulletin explores where the industry is today, compares 2022 metrics with those in 2019, and provides guidance as to what 2023 will look like – its challenges and opportunities.

Capacity – Despite the retirement of many of the older vessels from the fleets, today the industry is larger with more lower berth capacity than in 2019.

Passengers – Given the current trajectory of sailings and capacities, it is all but anticipated that 2023 will see a full year of recovery in terms of passenger numbers (and revenues). In fact, 2023 could even exceed the overall industry passenger numbers of 2019.

Debt – All three major listed cruise companies have more than doubled the amount of total debt. As a result of the debt, operators are executing somewhat different strategies going forward, but among common themes are:

    • A focus on operational profitability by looking at every part of the operations to achieve this target.
    • A reduction in capital spending by reducing or temporarily halting planned capital spending on non-essential projects.
    • Leveraging and partnering by looking for ways to attract capital or partners to achieve certain programs.

While this may negatively impact or delay growth strategies, particularly as it relates to investments in ships (as can be seen with ships on order 2019 v. 2022), technology, and the expansion of land-based developments, these operators have not announced any cancelations to date.

Instead, what is being seen is an evolution in the cruise business streamlining business to maximize profit and reduce cash demand. Investments in infrastructure will need to be carried out more by the destinations or third parties, to fill the gap in infrastructure development while the major cruise lines remain capital constrained.

Below find a comparison of key metrics of 2019 versus 2022 – such as passengers carried, occupancy levels, berths, ships, and more – based on the annual report data published by Carnival Corp (CCL), RCG, and NCLH.

Key Takeaways

  • Of these key stats, RCG and CCL show passengers down with a proportional decrease in total revenues in 2019 and 2022. NCLH, however, shows revenues did better and did not decrease to the same level as passenger figures.
  • All lines report strong consumer demand and can resume “full” operations in certain markets. (This has been the subject of a past Bulletin). The percentage of operators’ revenues increased significantly in North America and Europe. According to the CFO of RCG, the company’s North America-based itineraries are showing strong booking trends. Meanwhile, the company’s European itineraries are also showing positive signs, with bookings within historical ranges and catching up.
  • Total debt has doubled or tripled across all operators.
  • Operators have restructured debt and have delayed new ship orders as they focused on restart efforts initially, and at present, on strengthening their balance sheets.
  • Operating expenses affect profitability and resilience in the face of mounting debt payments. In 2022 expense per passenger has increased significantly for Carnival and NCLH. The main factors affecting this were:
    • Fuel prices were a key driver behind the increase in operating expenses for the big three cruise companies.
    • Lower occupancy levels as ships were not sailing at “typical” occupancy levels.
  • As a result, the big three are hard at work to manage their costs and increase profitability. Among actions taken by some of the lines include layoffs, revisions of itineraries to reduce fuel costs, shifting ships from weekly itineraries to shorter itineraries, and many others. Each company commented that higher cruise costs are expected to normalize in 2023.

CRUISE BULLETINS 

How CII Could Impact Ports & Itineraries

The Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), introduced by the IMO in 2023, measures the environmental efficiency of ships by evaluating CO2 emissions per nautical mile traveled…

Q1 2024 Earnings Report Summary

In the first quarter of 2024, the leading public cruise corporation Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) have set a promising tone for the remainder of 2024

Q4 2023 Earnings Report Summary

The leading public cruise corporations—Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian—concluded 2023 on a high note, as demonstrated by their Q4 earnings reports.

Unveiling BA’s 2024 Comprehensive Cruise Itinerary Insights

BA unveils its expansive 2024 cruise itinerary database, spanning 13,700 sailings across 47 brands and 320 ships globally…

With 2023 coming to a close, BA explores what is in store for 2024

With 2023 coming to a close, BA explores what is in store for 2024…

Q3 2023 Earnings Call Summary

With the final earnings report for Q3 2023 released by the last of the big three public Cruise Corporations yesterday…

Shore Power Adoption in the Cruise Industry

One key technology and noteworthy initiative is the adoption of Shore Side Electricity (SSE) or shore power. In BA’s previous bulletins…

Q2 2023 Earnings Report Summary

With the last of the big three public companies wrapping up their Q2 2023 earnings reports in the past weeks, it’s time for BA’s summary of the key takeaways and themes trending today.

The Port’s Role in the Decarbonization of the Cruise (& Shipping) Industry

In our last bulletin, we talked about the cruise industry’s push toward decarbonization, and the exploration of various alternative fuel options such as LNG, methanol, and biofuels. The key takeaway was that decarbonization will be a collaborative effort across the entire maritime industry…

BERMELLOAJAMIL© 2022