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Royal Caribbean Cruises liquidity squeeze: Can RCL afford to pay 11.6% interest on its growing $1.25bn debt pile?

By Joseph Toppe

11:00, 19 August 2022

Sinking piggy bank
Royal Caribbean suffers liquidity squeeze amid rising interest rates- Photo: Getty Images

The Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) has issued $1.15bn in senior convertible notes to avoid sinking into deeper debt, despite rising interest rates and ongoing inflationary pressures.

The move will push the notes’ maturity from 2023 to 2025, while spiking interest rates sit at 6% in place of the retired debt rates of 4.25% and 2.875%. In July, the company reported $5.5bn in short-term debt but only $2.1bn in cash. 

Over the last five days, Royal Caribbean’s share price sank roughly 0.29%, but is up 16.36% the last month. Year-to-date, the stock value remains down, resting at 45.90% below the redline.

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Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) stock price

RCL: Still ‘ace’ of the big three

In an interview with, Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York, said “If any cruise liner can pay a high interest rate, it is Royal Caribbean.”

“They have the best margins out of the big three (Carnival and Norwegian), and the outlook going forward seems to be improving as inflationary pressures ease,” he added.

RCLDespite higher interest rates, RCL has the best margins in the sector - Getty Images

Over the last five days, Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) is approximately 1.06% lower and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) sits even at 0.00%, while both have experienced a rally over the last month with a 5.87% and 10.26% move above the redline, respectively.

Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) stock pricec

Year-to-date, both Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines remain down, sitting at 48.17% and 33.65% in negative territory, respectively.


19,878.30 Price
-2.530% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0263%
Short position overnight fee 0.0041%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 1.8


64,561.85 Price
-0.460% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 106.00


0.62 Price
+5.800% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.01168


2,462.59 Price
-0.240% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0196%
Short position overnight fee 0.0114%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.30

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) price chart

Counterpoint: RCL debt too big?

Derek Horstmeyer, professor of finance at George Mason University’s school of business, told, “Royal Caribbean’s revenue in 2021 was $1.6bn, while their net income was negative $500M, so it is not looking pretty for this high amount of debt servicing.”

“The interest rate on their debt is also very high, but given that interest rates are going up, it is not as if they will renegotiate to lower the rate,” he continued. “But this is probably why they are down 50% to start the year in returns.”

What are Senior Convertible Notes?

Senior Convertible Notes are debt securities with the option to be converted into the issuer’s shares. The notes are also a priority over other debt securities.

What is a Liquidity Squeeze?

A liquidity squeeze happens when economic disruptions like inflation or recession impact financial institutions. During a liquidity squeeze, banks are less likely to lend money.


Markets in this article

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (Extended Hours)
166.50 USD
-6.86 -4.000%
Carnival plc - GBP
13.45 USD
-0.25 -1.890%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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