Norwegian Cruise Line Withdraws Forecast

Norwegian Bliss in Ponta Delgada photo credit Dave Jones

 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd on Monday warned of a quarterly loss and withdrew its 2020 forecast, as the cruise operator struggles with the suspension of all voyages through the end of June due to the coronavirus crisis.

The pandemic has halted international travel and effectively shut down the cruise ship and airline industries, with companies, now bleeding cash and scrambling for new funds to ride out the slowdown that could last longer than expected.

Shares of Norwegian Cruise and rivals Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean Cruises have taken a hit in the past few months as ships remain docked at ports and people wary of taking trips in the future.

The cruise liners are also not eligible to receive funding under the coronavirus stimulus bill since they were not incorporated in the United States, adding to further woes for the companies.

Norwegian Jade Photo was taken from a tender credit Dave Jones

Norwegian Cruise withdrew its forecast for the first quarter and the rest of the year but said it expects to report a loss for those periods. Royal Caribbean has also withdrawn its forecast, while Carnival, which operated two of the virus-stricken cruises, has predicted an annual loss.

Shares of the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise rose about 9%, while those of Royal Caribbean and Carnival were up about 8%. The stocks have lost about three-quarters of their value so far this year.

Norwegian Cruise said it would cut $515 million in spending to boost its cash reserves and estimated cash burn of about $110 million to $150 million per month as suspension of its three brands continue.

The company, which had about $1.4 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of March, said on Monday it had $1.8 billion of ticket sales as of March 31, that includes cancellations of about $850 million through June 30.

Despite growing cancellations, Chief Executive Officer Frank Del Rio, was optimistic about future demand, echoing Carnival’s CEO Arnold Donald who has predicted strong 2021 bookings.

“We believe the disruption to the travel industry, while swift and severe, will eventually subside,” Del Rio said.

Norwegian Cruise said booking trends indicate demand for cruise vacations for 2021 is essentially flat, although at lower prices.

Norwegian Makes Moves on Ship Finance Deals; Gains $386 Million

Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has amended the export-credit backed facilities that finance Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Joy to incorporate the terms of a 12-month debt holiday initiative offered to the cruise industry by Euler Hermes Aktiengesellschaft, the official export credit agency of Germany, according to a statement.

The debt holiday was initiated to provide interim debt service and financial covenant relief for borrowers during the current global COVID-19 pandemic with respect to their Hermes guaranteed financings. Across the facilities, these amendments provide approximately $386 million of incremental liquidity to the company through April 2021.

A subjective list of awards for cruise experiences

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Seven Seas Explorer

here’s no shortage of travel industry awards and accolades. 

Today I’ll offer some cruise-only nods — a mini Academy Awards lineup, if you will —  based on my seven years of cruising for Travel Weekly. Unlike the Oscars, in which categories of longstanding tradition are properly judged, my award categories and winners are completely subjective and based mostly on one moment on one ship, rather than a studious fleetwide evaluation over time.

Plus, mine aren’t broadcast on national television. And there’s no statuette. But they’re fun. See what you think, and offer your own winners in the comment section below.

So, with no further ado:

Best naming ceremony: Princess Cruises. Skies were grey in Southampton, England, on that June day in 2013, but who can beat royal princess Kate Middleton christening the Royal Princess? The British pomp and pageantry and the ladies in their gowns and fascinators made it unforgettable. Runner up: More royals, plus opera great Andrea Bocelli singing “Nessun Dorma” for the Seven Seas Explorer in Monaco.

Meal: Celebrity Cruises. I think it was on the Celebrity Reflection with former Celebrity public relations spokeswoman Liz Jakeway that I had a nearly flawless Italian dinner at the Tuscan Grille. Runner up: Guy Fieri’s burgers on Carnival Cruise Line.

Suite:  Viking Ocean Cruises. The Owner’s Suite on the Viking Star duplicates owner Tor Hagen’s book collection and comes with a (faux) fireplace and a sauna with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall for ocean viewing. Runner up: the duplex suites on Royal Caribbean.

Service: Azamara. I know, not what you’re expecting, but I say: try it. The relaxed style really made me feel at home on a 2016 Central America and Mexico cruise on the Azamara Journey. When my time was up, I didn’t want to leave. Runner up: Seabourn.

Entertainment: Norwegian Cruise Line. “After Midnight” and “Million Dollar Quartet” on the Norwegian Escape in 2016 was a knockout one-two punch, and Norwegian has kept up the pace with each new ship: “Jersey Boys,” “Kinky Boots.” Great value for guests. Runner up: Royal Caribbean, where too much is never enough.

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Pool: Seabourn. The cosy aft pool on Seabourn’s 450-passenger ships puts sunbathers close to the water in stylish luxury. Runner up: the Solarium Pool on Celebrity, with its dancing waters fountain.

Cruise Director: Star Clippers. The line’s longest-serving cruise director, Peter Kissner, hails from Bavaria and is the most personable, knowledgeable, interesting person I’ve yet encountered in the job.  Runner up: Azamara cruise director Eric de Gray does it all.

Internet: Royal Caribbean gets the nod for its Voom, which not only is fast and simple but was first to market. What a difference in seven years. Runner up: MedallionNet on Princess Cruises is also fast and simple (but was not first).

Children’s character: Disney Cruise Line for Cinderella. As played by one of Disney’s cast members, the Cinderella I saw could have stepped out of the 1950 animated feature film. The children were enchanted. Runner Up:  Ellie, the towel elephant that prowls the post-turn-down cabins on Carnival ships.

Deck BBQ: Windstar Cruises. A twilight summer deck party anchored off the coast of Portofino. Trust me, it doesn’t get any better than that. Runner up: Regent Seven Seas Cruises.