NEW YORK -- Although plunging passenger demand in the wake of the
Sept. 11 attacks has eased, replaced by strong bookings and higher
rates, booking totals during this year's Wave period will be a key
determining factor in Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s 2002
performance, chairman Richard Fain said Jan. 8 in a conference call
In a between-quarters "business update" intended to address
post-Sept. 11 effects, Fain said year-end weekly data showed booked
ticket revenue for first-quarter 2002 were 33% ahead of 2001
figures, although discounting was 7% higher than last year.
While lower than 2001 levels, pricing also is rebounding, as
aggressive post-attack discounts have dwindled since November.
Also, new bookings over the last 10 weeks of 2001 were up 46%
over 2000 and cancellations have returned to normal levels.
Booking patterns that shifted to close-in sailing following
Sept. 11 also have returned to pre-attack patterns, said Fain.
The reversing trends come as Royal Caribbean absorbs capacity
increases of 23.3% for first-quarter 2002 and 15.3% for the full
year. Nevertheless, Fain said this year's Wave period would be
"unquestionably an unusual one," adding, "we're pleased with the
direction of the coming months, and I don't have any sense of
pessimism, but we simply don't know what will happen."
Fain expects first-quarter revenue yields to be down 10% to 15%
from 2001 and improve in each quarter thereafter.