© Reuters. File photo: Royal Caribbean logo and stock graph are seen displayed in this illustration taken, May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo
(Reuters) -Royal Caribbean Group projected annual profit above Wall Street expectations on Thursday on strong demand for cruise vacations and steeper itinerary prices.
With travelers opting for cruises instead of more expensive land-based vacation options, operators are experiencing record levels of bookings in 2024 compared to pre-pandemic levels, giving them enough room to mark up ticket prices.
The cruise company said occupancy in the fourth quarter was higher than that of the same period in 2022.
Rival Carnival (NYSE:) on Tuesday said that the first half of 2024 was almost fully booked and that it had seen an “early and robust” start to the wave season, a period that stretches from January through March where cruise operators offer great deals to travelers.
Royal Caribbean (NYSE:) also said on Thursday that the wave season was off to a record start.
The company forecast 2024 adjusted profit between $9.50 and $9.70 per share, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $9.19 per share, according to LSEG data.