Norwegian Cruise Line boss nets $1.3m in the share sale

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Norwegian Cruise Line boss Andy Stuart netted $1.3 million from the sale of shares.

He sold 25,000 shares in parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in two tranches last week, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The sale at $50 per share came after the company reported record second-quarter financial results with earnings of $240.2 million for the three months to June 30.

The lift in profits came despite the impact of the abrupt US government ban on cruise ships calling into Cuba and a technical problem with the ship Norwegian Pearl which forced one cruise to be amended and another to be canceled.

Company president and CEO Frank Del Rio said at the time: “The underlying fundamentals of our business remain strong across all core markets, and we continue to expect record financial results in 2019, despite the impact from the change in federal regulations which resulted in the cessation of premium-priced Cuba sailings.”

NCLH has a market capitalization of $10.88 billion and controls NCL alongside Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

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Norwegian CEO Del Rio enthused about return to Turkey

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said the company’s decision to return to the Eastern Mediterranean in 2019 is working out so far.

After pulling out of the region in 2016 because of terrorism fears and political instability in Turkey, NCLH has scheduled 12 sailings this year and has an additional 20 on the calendar for 2020.

“All 12 sailings in 2019 are better loaded and at higher pricing than the surrounding sailings that do not include Turkey,” Del Rio said.

He told investors on a conference call to discuss fourth quarter and 2018 earnings that Turkey is the key to the itinerary.

“The fact that the North American consumer, who is the one booking most of these Eastern Mediterranean cruises, seem to want to come back to the eastern Med and is willing to pay a premium price bodes very well for 2020,” Del Rio said.

The risk is that itineraries must be developed and sold 18 to 24 months in advance of sailing, he continued.

“So you test the waters, you see what happens, and it takes you a while to really ramp up. So at this point, assuming there are no other disruptions — reasons to not go to the Eastern Med — I expect that we along with the rest of the industry will probably increase the number of deployments to the Eastern Med beginning in 2020 and even more in 2021.”

Del Rio, who has a hand in all itinerary planning at NCLH, said that when the eastern Med is good, “it’s as good as any, if not the best, of all itineraries.”

On the call, Del Rio said NCLH enters 2019 in the best-booked position in its history, giving yield managers more leeway to raise prices.

“We’re pushing prices higher wherever we can,” Del Rio said. “While we still have a lot of cabins to fill, the emphasis will be on raising prices — on all three brands.”

In addition to Norwegian Cruise Line, NCLH operates Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The company had net income of $954.8 million in 2018, up 25.6% from the $759.9 million recorded a year earlier. Revenue rose 13% to $6.1 billion.

Last year, NCLH decided to redeploy the Norwegian Joy from China to Alaska, where it will cruise starting in April alongside sister ship Norwegian Bliss. That will increase NCLH’s presence in Alaska to 9% of total capacity, up from 7% last year.

Capacity in the Asia Pacific region will drop to 6% from 12% last year. NCLH will have six ships in Europe this summer and capacity there increases to 23% from 20% last year, while year-round capacity in the Caribbean is pegged at 36%.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings confirms two more Leonardo-class ships

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has confirmed options to build fifth and sixth Project Leonardo-class ships for Norwegian Cruise Line with Fincantieri.

Frank del Rio, NCLH’s president and chief executive officer, said the decision to build two more 3,300 passenger-capacity ships, due for delivery in 2026 and 2027, showed “strong growth trajectory”.

He said: “Our six-ship Leonardo Class fleet will allow us to broaden our deployment into strong performing and mature unserved and underserved markets and offer new experiences to our guests.”

In a statement, the company said the focus of the new ships’ design was energy efficiency and building a size of vessel that would encourage broad deployment opportunities.

Andy Stuart, NCL’s president and chief executive officer, said: “The highly-anticipated Leonardo Class will fuel future growth with exciting and innovative offerings that will meaningfully drive demand from new and loyal returning guests alike.”

With Thursday’s announcement, NCLH has seven ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line and one for Regent Seven Seas Cruises for delivery through 2027.

The company will take delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in autumn 2019.