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Carnival reports smaller-than-expect loss, says cruising still in demand

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Passengers of the Carnival Sensation, operated by Carnival Cruise Line, are seen next to the docked cruise ship in Cozumel
FILE PHOTO: Passengers of the Carnival Sensation, operated by Carnival Cruise Line, are seen next to the docked cruise ship in Cozumel

(Reuters) - Carnival Corp <CCL.N> on Thursday reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss and said advanced bookings for next year were improving, indicating renewed demand for cruising.

The cruise operator, which sails AIDA, Costa and Princess cruises among others, has paused voyages since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing its business to a standstill.

The company, however, said bookings for the second half of 2021 were at the higher end of the historical range, even as prices are down by mid-single digits compared to last year.

Total customer deposit balance as of Aug. 31 was $2.4 billion (1.85 billion pounds), the majority of which were credits given by Carnival for canceled trips, compared to $2.9 billion (2.24 billion pounds) last year.

"We have come full circle from initiating a suspension in the early days of the pandemic, to transitioning the fleet into a pause status, right sizing our organization and, now, embarking on the phased resumption of guest operations," Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said.

The company's cruises Costa in Italy and AIDA in Germany are resuming operations.

The company said it would be able to generate enough liquidity to satisfy obligations for at least the next 12 months.

Carnival's third-quarter net loss came in at $2.86 billion (2.21 billion pounds), compared to a profit of $1.78 billion (1.37 billion pounds) a year earlier.

On a per share basis, the company lost $2.19, a cent less than analysts' forecast, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Carnival said https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/815097/000081509720000101/ccl-20200831.htm revenue for the quarter ended Aug. 31 was $31 million, compared with $6.53 billion a year earlier.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)