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CCL had very little inventory left to sell at the time of their last call and incremental data points have been generally been positive. FX may provide the only negative commentary. 

 

OUTLOOK & GUIDANCE

  • “Turning to 2010 outlook…cruise costs per available lower berth day for the full year, again excluding fuel and in local currency, are projected to be down 1% to 2%. The decline is driven by tight cost controls and lower dry dock cost.”
  • “Furthermore, the dollar has weakened versus the euro and sterling, so in the end, fuel and currency are driving up our costs, and therefore, in current dollars and including fuel, our costs are expected to be up 4% to 6%. While the FX rate movement increases our cost, it also increases our revenue. So given these rates, the year-over-year profit improvement from currency is expected to be an increase of $60 million or $0.08 per share.”
    • Since 12/18, when CCL last issued currency guidance, the dollar has strengthened against both the Euro and the GBP by 4.7% and 5.9%, respectively. Therefore, at current rates, we expect that currency will have no revenue or EPS benefit.
  • “We expect to drive top-line revenue growth of approximately 10% for 2010, with the 7.7% increase I referred to before in our fleet-wide capacity, together with the increase in forecast of current dollar revenue yields of 2% to 3%.”
  • “On a fleet-wide basis for the first quarter, occupancies are at same levels as last year, slightly higher for North American brands and slightly lower for Europe brands. Although the slightly lower occupancy for Europe is not surprising, given the 15% capacity expansion for the European brands in the quarter. At this point, we have very little inventory left to sell in North America and in Europe.
    • “Currently, pricing for North American branded Caribbean cruises is moderately lower than last year, with pricing for Mexican cruises down more significantly than the prior year. Pricing for long and exotic cruises have strengthened during the last quarter and is now only slightly lower than the year-ago pricing.”
    • “By the time the first quarter closes, we expect European brand local currency fleet-wide pricing to be 3% or 4% lower than a year ago to slightly higher on a current dollar basis.”  
  • “On a fleet-wide basis, we are forecasting yields in the second quarter to be slightly higher on a local currency basis, and we're significantly higher on a current dollar basis.”
    • “Given the continuing strength of bookings, we are forecasting that North American brand revenue yields will be higher in the second quarter on year-ago levels.”
    • “Given the strength of European booking volumes, we expect the pricing gaps to narrow, and by the time the second quarter closes, we expect Europe brand pricing, on a local-currency basis, to be at approximately the same levels as last year and on a current dollar basis, up significantly from last year.”
  • “Early indications for the third quarter booking trends are encouraging. Overall, occupancies in the third quarter are running slightly ahead of last year, with North American slightly stronger than Europe.”

  

TRENDS

  • “With continued strength and booking patterns during the last 13 weeks, occupancies on a capacity adjusted basis for the first nine months of 2010 are now at approximately the same levels as last year. Booking volumes during this past quarter for North American and European brands covering the first three quarters of 2010 are each up over 40% versus the easier comparisons to last year. But these bookings are also strong on an absolute basis. Actually, on absolute basis, these are the strongest bookings we have seen in our history.”
  • “Pricing for cruises still have not recovered as much as we would like, and perhaps, that's a reflection of the currently uncertain economic picture for 2010. Still, in selected areas of the business, we have seen more demand and have been able to move pricing higher in certain trades.”
  • “Our U.S. premium brands are showing increasing pricing strength, which is a significant reversal from 2009. This also suggests that with the strengthening of the U.S. economy and the rise in the equity markets that the higher-end customer is feeling better about taking their vacations, and the superior value of cruise vacations is driving a lot of business our way.”
  • Q: “The 2010 cost outlook, can you just tell us what that would be before the easy comp, the dry docking easy comp?”
    • “It will be relatively flat, excluding the dry dock -- the reduction in dry docking.”
    • “The decrease is, yes. It's surely the dry docking, and the tight cost controls allowed us to keep it flat for the year.”
  • “Honestly, we're not seeing any impact from Oasis.”
  • “Premium brands being booked stronger and the ability to raise pricing on premium brand bookings…continued through the fourth quarter.”
  • “Everywhere is doing better with two glaring exceptions: The Mexican Riviera and Brazil. Other than that, I think, generally, Caribbean, Europe, Australia, Asia, they're all doing a little bit better.”
  • Q: “And in your earnings estimate for this year, are you planning to have onboard spend up, down or sideways vis-à-vis '09?”
    • “basically flat”

 

RELEVANT COMMENTARY FROM RCL 4Q09 CALL

  • “Wave season's off to a strong start with good volume and even higher pricing. While we are also not seeing a dramatic run-up in pricing, our numbers demonstrate a slow but steady improvement in our revenue environment, consistent with a slow but steady improvement in the economy.”
  • “Each of the last three weeks have generated record booking volumes for us at pricing that is running ahead of the same time last year. Clearly, we are not back to pre-recession demand levesl, but we are pleased to see yield recovery underway. As of today, our booked load factor and average net per diem are ahead of the same time last year for all four quarters and the full year.”
  • We are experiencing clear signs of recovery in our order book. In fact, since September, our booking volumes have been running more than 30% higher than during the same period a year ago. This acceleration of booking volume has also begun to have a positive effect on pricing.”
  • “While our current price levels are still being influenced by the weak economy, we are clearly in a better position to control discounting and even take some measured price increases.”
  • “I think the general theme is that our cost on a reported basis will be flat to slightly up. And when you factor in base exchange rates, it'll actually be flat to slightly down next year.”
  • “Assumptions on ticket revenue recoveries and perhaps on onboard.”
  • “I think my comment on booking windows overall was it's probably had a slight amount of expansion. It really varies significantly by market. I think some of the premium itineraries such as Europe and Alaska were seeing the booking window move out from where it was a year ago. But Adam alluded to the West Coast specifically, Mexican Riviera, I think we're seeing a more contracted booking curve there. When you net it all out, I'd say the booking curves just slightly up from where it was. But certainly not back to where it was before the recession.”
  • “Richard alluded to, as that we come out of 2010, we're looking forward to a revenue environment where we don't have a lot of business on the books that was booked in '09. We have a disproportionate amount of that first quarter having '09 sales. I just reiterate our view of Q1 has not materially changed.”