Royal Caribbean reports strong profits

Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010

Royal Caribbean Lines is reporting strong revenue growth and dramatically higher profits for the summer cruise season, and is singling out Alaska as a particularly strong performer.

Royal Caribbean is the state's second-largest cruise line and operates ships under its own name and as Celebrity Cruises. It was the first company to report results for the full summer.

Royal Caribbean announced that it had a nearly 17 percent growth in revenue and 55 percent growth in profits for the quarter ended September 30.

Profit for the quarter was $356 million, on revenue of $2 billion, the company said.

The gains had been somewhat expected following the strong previous quarter, which included the first portion of the summer.

"Virtually all of our products showed solid improvement, especially Alaska and the Caribbean," Brian Rice, Royal Caribbean's chief financial officer and executive vice president, told industry analysts this week.

Some of those gains had been expected after the strong early start, but the season ended even better than expected, he said.

There was "healthy demand" for Celebrity Cruises' offerings, with Alaska "performing particularly well," said Daniel Hanrahan, that company's President and CEO.

The company was able to increase prices for cruises despite adding significant capacity recently, including the huge new Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship and the soon-to-arrive Allure of the Seas, each with ability to carry 5,400 passengers. Neither is expected to come to Alaska.

Royal Caribbean had cut one ship from its Alaska schedule for 2010, but local tourism officials are hoping that a recent reduction in the cruise ship head tax will encourage new sailings in future years.

The company this week also told analysts that early signs for next year for both Europe and Alaska were strong.

Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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