That sinking feeling the economy has experienced since the coronavirus pandemic was borne out with staggering first-quarter losses by one of the world’s largest cruise ship companies.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reported a loss of $1.4 billion, or $6.91 per share, during the first quarter of 2020, the Miami Herald reported. Over the same period last year, Royal Caribbean had a profit of $249.7 million, the newspaper reported.
The Miami-based company also announced in a news release that the suspension of most cruises would be extended through July 31, with the exception of ships sailing from China, which will remain idle through the end of June.
Royal Caribbean, the world’s second-largest cruise company, is the parent company for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises, including the world’s four largest cruise ships, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The cruise industry halted operations March 13 under a “no sail order” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the newspaper reported.
Royal Caribbean’s competitors also suffered losses during the first quarter of 2020. Carnival Corp. reported a loss of $781 million and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings reported a loss of $1.88 billion, the Herald reported.
On Wednesday, the company said it also expects to incur net losses for the second quarter and for the entire year, but was uncertain how extensive they would be, according to the newspaper.
In an earnings call Wednesday, Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain, Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty and Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said there was no timeline as to the resumption of cruises.
“We don’t expect that this is going to be that someday somebody blows a horn and all the ships start operating right away,” Fain said. "We think it will be a gradual start. We would imagine we would start with fewer ships, more drive markets in the beginning, then evolve and grow from there.”