Carnival Corp has begun the new fiscal year with a $2bn loss, racking up a fourth consecutive quarter of deficits that now total $12bn as a result of the Covid-19 downturn.

The Miami owner of 87 ships posted an adjusted net loss of $1.95bn for the first quarter beginning on 1 December 2020. This compares with $150m in profit for the same quarter last year.

This result translated into a $2.01 loss per share, according to TradeWinds' calculations, missing analyst consensus of a $1.54 loss per share.

"We are focused on resuming operations as quickly as practical, while at the same time demonstrating prudent stewardship of capital and doing so in a way that serves the best interests of public health," chief executive Arnold Donald said.

"Our highest responsibility and therefore our top priority is always compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and well-being of everyone."

Sailing this summer

Six of the company's nine brands are expected to resume limited guest cruise operations by this summer.

Carnival's German AIDA Cruises brand resumed guest cruise operations in March sailing in the Canary Islands, while Italian brand Costa Cruises expects to resume guest sailings in May to Italian ports.

P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises will each offer a series of UK cruises this summer, Carnival said.

Seabourn plans to resume guest cruise operations this summer sailing from Greece.

"Booking volumes are accelerating," Donald said.

"During the first quarter of 2021 they were approximately 90% higher than volumes during the fourth quarter of 2020 reflecting both the significant pent up demand and long-term potential for cruising."

Total customer deposits as of 28 February were $2.2bn, most of which are future cruise credits.

Carnival's monthly average cash burn rate for the first quarter was $500m. Carnival expects the monthly average cash burn rate for the first half of 2021 to be about $550m.

Since March last year, the company has raised $23.6bn in cash through transactions that include borrowing $1.5bn in export credit, issuing $3.5bn of unsecured debt and offering $1bn in stock.

Looking forward, Carnival could only say it expects a net loss for the second quarter and full fiscal year, which ends 30 November.