With RCL reporting this Thursday, we’re reporting the results of our most recent cruise pricing survey. 2013 is pretty much in the bag so we have few concerns regarding RCL’s Q3 earnings and Q4 guidance. For RCL, it is 2014 we are concerned with, particularly in the first half. RCL 2014 pricing looks weaker than CCL in Europe and Alaska. As we noted in our note this morning, “SHIPS OF STOOLS NO LONGER,” we think RCL is now the stock at risk.
Below are some observations from our proprietary pricing survey (>12,000 itineraries) for CCL, RCL, and NCLH. We analyze YoY pricing, as well as relative TREND which is determined by comparing pricing relative to the last earnings/guidance date for a cruise operator i.e. CCL: 9/24; RCL: 7/25; NCLH: 7/29. For a more quantitative analysis, please contact sales at .
- CCL: The good news is that the carnage seen in FQ1 2014 for the Caribbean didn’t get worse in mid-October. The bad news is that any modest pricing gains for FQ2/FQ3 2014 seen in mid-September disappeared in mid-October. Mgmt expects pricing to improve significantly in 2H 2014 for the Carnival brand so let’s hope this trend will reverse before Wave Season hits. Europe pricing continues to be steady while early pricing for the 2014 Alaska cruise season has been quite robust.
- RCL: The data looks fine for the balance of 2013. Our concern remains 2014. Similar to Carnival, it looks like FQ1 2014 will be very weak in the Caribbean, while Europe and Alaska pricing will drag down FQ2/FQ3 performance. Not surprisingly, Pullmantur was a notable laggard in mid-October.
- NCLH: Steady overall pricing but lower Getaway prices is not encouraging
Caribbean – Carnival brand
- Pricing for the few FQ4 itineraries left was down double-digits YoY but slightly better relative to mid-September’s
- FQ1 2014 pricing did not move much MoM with close to double-digit YoY declines
- Summer 2014 pricing continued to be quite volatile. After moving modestly higher on a relative basis in mid-September, FQ2 2014 pricing trend dropped sharply in mid-October. On a YoY basis, pricing is now trending flat. Early FQ3 2014 pricing also reversed course, giving back most of the pricing gains seen in mid-September
- Costa FQ4 2013 YoY pricing continued to make gains on top of excellent growth. Costa’s FY 2014 pricing was unchanged and TREND was stable.
- Princess and Cunard brands saw modest pricing improvements while Holland America pricing did not move.
- Interestingly, the new Royal Princess saw significant discounting, which was offset by pricing gains in other Princess brands.
- Early modest pricing pressure for AIDA’s 2014 Western Europe/Mediterranean itineraries
- Off to a great start in 2014 with Princess leading the charge. Pricing was much higher on a YoY basis with TREND accelerating.
Asia, Mexico, South America
- Holland America and Costa maintained FY2014 pricing in mid-October
- Princess pricing was slightly lower for FQ2 2014 but nicely higher for FQ3 2014
- Carnival brand pricing for FQ1 2014 remained modestly lower YoY but TREND had turned positive
- Carnival brand pricing for FQ2 and FQ3 2014 TREND lost some steam but remain nicely higher YoY
- South America
- Costa’s pricing TREND was slightly higher. Holland America continued its struggles with FQ4 2013 pricing down significantly and FQ2 2014 pricing lower. Princess’s FQ1 2014 pricing TREND was roughly flat in mid-October.
- RC brand: FQ4 2013 YoY close-in pricing improved slightly. FQ1 2014 pricing continued to be significantly lower –a trend seen since July. Further out in 2014, it’s an unclear picture with slightly better FQ3 2014 pricing offsetting slightly weaker FQ2 2014 pricing; pricing TREND was stable for both quarters.
- Celebrity: FQ4 2013 and FQ2 2014 pricing was slightly higher but FQ1 2014 prices were much lower. Pricing TREND was stable for all quarters.
- Pullmantur: FQ1 2014 pricing fell slightly; however, significant discounting for FQ2 2014 itineraries remained
- RC brand: FQ2 2014 pricing had not improved much from mid-double digits declines. Pricing TREND was stable.
- Celebrity: FQ2 2014 pricing remained lower substantially YoY with stable pricing TREND
- Azamara: 2014 pricing improved modestly MoM
- Pullmantur: Rough seas for this brand in 2014. The substantial FQ2 2014 price discounting had been extended to FQ3 and FQ4. Western Europe and Baltic/North Seas regional pricing both look under pressure. Price TREND was negative.
- FQ2 2014: RC brand & Celebrity pricing down double digits YoY.
- FQ3 2014: RC brand pricing saw double-digits declines while Celebrity pricing was slightly positive
Asia and South America
- RC brand & Celebrity: Pricing was nicely higher for FQ1 2014
- Azamara: Flat pricing
- South America
- RC brand & Celebrity: Sparse itineraries but pricing was nicely higher for FQ1 2014
- Close-in FQ4 2013 pricing deteriorated further in mid-October. Pricing TREND for FQ1/FQ2 2014 was flat.
- Breakaway: Steady pricing, maintained 35-40% pricing premium over Gem
- Getaway: Pricing was slashed by the low teens in FQ1 2014. Pricing premium over Epic and Sun reduced from 50-60% in mid-September to 30-40% in mid-October.
- Steady 2014 pricing
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This indispensable trading tool is based on a risk management signaling process Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough developed during his years as a hedge fund manager and continues to refine. Nearly every trading day, you’ll receive Keith’s latest signals - buy, sell, short or cover.
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McDonald's released its Q3 earnings this morning. Revenue missed. Management blamed a challenging global environment. Hedgeye Restaurant Sector Head Howard Penney? He's not buying it -- literally or figuratively.
Bearish TREND = 97.22, broken.
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Takeaway: If the reaction to the employment report is bullish, 1764 is next; if its bearish, 1712 is next. So #GetActive.
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All-time is a long time. And fighting a setup like this (higher-lows and higher-all-time-highs) is as tough as tough gets. Forget about Fed fighting – don’t fight Mr. Market.
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Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
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