Royal Caribbean posts another loss as Omicron hurts cruise bookings

February 4, 2022, 3:56 PM UTC

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. posted its eighth-consecutive quarterly loss, missing analysts’ estimates, as the Omicron COVID-19 variant hampered demand for cruise travel.

Royal Caribbean reported an adjusted loss per share of $4.78 in the fourth quarter, worse than the $3.77 loss projected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Revenue and occupancy levels also missed expectations.

Like its peers in the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean essentially shuttered operations for more than a year when the pandemic began. It has faced a bumpy restart since it resumed U.S. cruise operations in the middle of last year, with new COVID-19 variants further challenging consumers’ appetite for vacations at sea.

“The travel industry has experienced significant short-term disruptions due to the Omicron variant,” the company said Friday. “Such disruptions intensified during the holiday season and in early January, with the spread of the variant, and impacted the company’s cancellations and bookings for near-term sailings.”

Royal Caribbean said Omicron hurt bookings for the first half of 2022 and will likely delay its “return to profitability by a few months.” The company expects operating cash flow will be positive in late spring, and it sees a return to profitability in the second half of this year.

Royal Caribbean reiterated its return-to-service projections, with 53 of 62 ships in service by the end of the first quarter and the entire fleet sailing by the summer.

Shares of the Miami-based company fell 4.7% to $75.64 at 10:01 a.m. New York time.

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