Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings chief executive Frank Del Rio is promising that his company will produce record profits off its passengers come next year — on one condition.
Norwegian will post the highest net yield ever, as long as the industry stops having “black swan events” such as Covid-19 variants and military invasions that keep derailing efforts to overcome the pandemic, he said.
“First it was delta, then it was omicron and then there was the Ukraine-Russia situation,” he told analysts on Tuesday during a first-quarter earnings call.
“So we have tempered all our remarks by saying, as long as there are no additional black swan events, we’re seeing fantastic pricing strength,” he said.
“Promise me no more black swan events, and I’ll promise you record net yields.”
He added that Norwegian has historically maintained higher net yields per passenger day, which was $257 for 2019, than peer competitors Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean Group, in great part due to disciplined pricing.
“We win our game based on our ability to drive top-line revenue, and the key to driving top-line revenue is pricing.”
Norwegian earned $522m in revenue for the first quarter versus $3.1m during the same period last year, primarily due to the company gradually returning its fleet to service.
That revenue hike helped the company lower its first-quarter net loss to $1bn from $1.4bn a year earlier.
Chief financial officer Mark Kempa acknowledged the rising inflation and possibility of a recession but said the cruise industry is still in a great position to do well because of the consumer value it provides.
Our advanced ticket sales engine is roaring,” he said.
“When you look at the bigger picture against the economic backdrop of inflation or recession talk … we’re better-positioned than many of our land-based competitors because of the fixed-price nature of our business.”
He also pointed out that the company’s finances turned cash-flow positive in March, a development that will translate into Ebitda and ultimately net profitability.
“The tide is turning and the future looks bright,” he said.
“Those are key milestones that we should not discount. I want to highlight that pretty strongly today.”