Continuing pressure to keep fares low in order to fill its ships has forced Carnival Corporation – parent company of Cunard, P&O and Princess Cruises – to slash its financial expectations this year.
The company warned that earnings per share are likely to be around $1.45-$1.65, compared with its earlier guidance of $1.80 to $2.10.
Carnival shares, which are traded on the London and New York stock exchanges, fell by as much as 15 per cent in early trading today – going in the opposite direction to the FTSE index which has reached its highest level since 2000.
In recent months, Carnival Cruise Line has suffered a succession of events that have conspired to deter US passengers, its largest market by far. Last week it announced it would have no ships sailing in Europe during 2014 – largely because not enough Americans are prepared to fly across the Atlantic for their holidays.
In addition to adverse publicity from fires and power failures on Carnival Triumph and Carnival Dream, the company has pledged to spend up to $700 million on installing improved back-up systems on its 24strong fleet.
The company’s tribulations are having a knock-on effect on other cruise lines, as the continuing availability of unprecedentedly low fares for this summer’s cruise holidays demonstrates. Voyages to Iceland and the fjords are particular bargains – perhaps Brits fed up with months of grey weather are looking for guaranteed sunshine instead.
Among the latest deals are:
With fares like this, it’s almost impossible to understand why 65 per cent of British holidaymakers are planning a summer staycation in the Lake District, Cornwall or Devon, according to a survey commissioned by Travelodge.
Show me a Travelodge which includes entertainment and unlimited meals in its daily rates – as cruise ships do – and I’ll treat you to dinner there.