Carnival loses $2.1 billion waiting for cruising to resume

MIAMI (AP) — Carnival Corp. said Thursday that it lost more than $2 billion in its latest quarter, and the cruise line operator declined to predict when it will stop losing money amid uncertainty over the pace of recovery from the pandemic.

Shares of the Miami-headquartered company fell more than 1% in midday trading.

The cruise industry was a visible early victim in the pandemic, as passengers and crew members tested positive for COVID-19 and some ships were turned away from ports. The industry has battled the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over health requirements for resuming sailing in U.S. water.

Carnival, whose nine cruising subsidiaries include Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, said bookings in the March-through-May quarter rose 45% over the previous quarter, and total bookings for 2022 are running ahead of 2019.

The company plans to resume limited U.S. operations with trips starting in July and August from Florida, Texas and Washington state.

Carnival said that 42 ships accounting for more than half the parent company’s capacity will be sailing by the end of November.

Chief Financial Officer David Bernstein told analysts that if the full fleet is sailing by next spring at normal occupancy levels, the company should see positive earnings before interest and other costs. But, he said, high costs related to restarting operations and the seasonality of cruising make it hard to predict when the company will hit breakeven.

The company lost $2.07 billion in the quarter that ended May 31 and has lost more than $14 billion since the pandemic started.

The Associated Press

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