Leisure travel company Carnival said on Thursday it expects its fleet to be operating at 50% capacity by October amid ongoing concerns about the impacts of the Covid-19 Delta variant on travel.
The company expects to have 42 ships deployed across its Carnival Cruise Line Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard fleets.
Shares of Carnival were up 4.62% during trading hours and finished the day at $24.69 (£17.99) per share.
The pandemic has been unkind to nearly every business, but it has been downright cruel to many travel companies. Carnival reported it lost more than $10.2bn in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, according to its quarterly filings.
However, a case study by Harvard Business School found Carnival was able to navigate the pandemic by significantly cutting costs and hoarding cash until the pandemic began to wane.
According to its latest earning statement, Carnival has amassed a $9.3bn cash war chest since March 2020.
Now the global vaccination rate is beginning to tick up, some analysts believe Carnival is on a course for easier waters.
William Blair analysts Sharon Zackfia and Alexander Vasti wrote in a note to investors on Monday that Carnival should see a “modest moderation in losses” by early next year. The company could also see its quarterly revenue rise above its May 2020 levels, the note added.
Strength of restart
Carnival has slowly begun to redeploy its fleet over recent months. To date, the company has restarted operations on eight of its brands across North America, Europe and Asia, according to a press release.
Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival, said the initial restart has shown there is “tremendous confidence in (Carnival’s) brands” and the company’s additional health and safety protocols.
“As the restart of cruising continues to gain momentum and create positive economic activity for people who depend on our industry to make a living, we look forward to serving our guests with more than half our fleet capacity returning in October, while delivering a great guest experience and serving the best interests of public health,” Frizzell said in the release.
Carnival holds one of the world’s largest leisure travel portfolios. It has nine of the world’s largest cruise ship brands that sail from seven different countries and three continents.