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Monday,  March 4, 2024 10:47 PM 

Royal Caribbean reports “exceptional” 2023, record-breaking start to 2024

  • Cruises
  •   02-02-2024  1:24 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Royal Caribbean reports “exceptional” 2023, record-breaking start to 2024
Icon of the Seas docked next to Vision of the Seas at Perfect Day at Coco Cay in the Bahamas. (Pax Global Media/File photo)
Pax Global Media

Royal Caribbean Group released its 2023 financial results on Thursday (Feb. 1), saying they were better expected due to stronger close-in demand.

That strength is continuing into 2024, the cruise company stated in a news release.

"2023 was an exceptional year, propelled by unmatched demand for our brands from new and loyal guests," stated Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "With the wind in our sails and record-breaking bookings, 2024 is poised to be another robust year, and we expect to achieve two of our Trifecta goals one year early.”

"With our industry-leading global brands combined with the most innovative fleet and destinations, we remain intensely focused on delivering a lifetime of vacations and priceless memories for our guests while delivering exceptional long-term shareholder value."

READ MORE: “It’s not about building the biggest ship, it’s about building the best ship”: RCI’s Lisa Connell unpacks Icon

Royal Caribbean recently launched its new, $2 billion (U.S.) dollar ship, Icon of the Seas, which has twenty decks, more than forty restaurants, bars and lounges, 28 different types of accommodations, and a maximum capacity of 7,600 passengers (nearly 10,000 if you include the crew).

It’s currently the largest cruise ship in the world, and as PAX heard from officials while on a preview sailing last month, staterooms on the spacious megaship are quickly selling out.

WAVE season off to record start

Royal Caribbean Group consist of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises. It also a 50 per cent owner of a joint venture that operates TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Together, the brands have an additional eight ships on order as of Dec. 31, 2023

The group’s total revenues in 2023 were $13.9 billion, the company said Thursday.

Icon of the Seas. (Pax Global Media/file photo)

WAVE season is also off to a record start, with booked load factors and rates coming in higher than all prior years, the company said.

For the full year 2023, the company reported a net Income of $1.7 billion, or $6.31 per share, compared to net loss of $(2.2) billion in the prior year. (All prices are in U.S. currency).

Update on Bookings

The company says it is “very encouraged” about the demand and pricing environment for 2024. 

Overall, the five best booking weeks of the company's history have occurred since the last earnings call, including the first three weeks of WAVE.

“As a result, the company is now in a record booked position in both rate and volume,” the group said.

The booking strength is benefiting all key itineraries and consumer spending onboard, and pre-cruise purchases, continue to exceed prior years, the company noted.

The Hideaway on board Icon of the Seas. (Pax Global Media/File photo)

The market response to the company's new ships – particularly Icon of the Seas – existing hardware, and the expansion of Perfect Day at CocoCay (with the new Hideaway Beach), has further positioned the company for strong yield and earnings growth in 2024.

"Demand for our brands continues to outpace broader travel as a result of consumer spend further shifting toward experiences and the exceptional value proposition of our products," said Liberty. "We have exciting new vacation experiences in 2024, including the game changing Icon of the Seas, and have entered the year in a record booked position at significantly higher prices, further positioning us for a strong 2024."

As of Dec. 31, 2023, the Group's customer deposit balance was at $5.3 billion.

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