* First-quarter earnings/share $0.35 vs est $0.20
* First-quarter revenue rises 4 percent
* Says since start of year booking volumes averaged 5 pct
ahead of last year
* Re-affirms full year earnings/share forecast of
$2.30-$2.50 vs est $2.45
* Shares rise 9 pct
(Adds forecast, details; updates share movement)
April 25 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
reported a surprisingly strong quarterly profit as a series of
mishaps across the cruise industry failed to dissuade
passengers, who spent more on both tickets and onboard
Shares of the world's second-largest cruise operator rose 9
percent to $37.36 in morning trading on the New York Stock
Exchange. Larger rival Carnival Corp & Plc's
shares also rose 3 percent.
Royal Caribbean maintained its full-year forecast, despite a
string of incidents that affected the industry, including a
norovirus outbreak on its Vision of the Seas ship in March.
The industry has suffered from negative publicity arising
from incidents such as Carnival's Costa Concordia running
aground last year and an engine-room fire in February that left
another Carnival ship stranded at sea for days.
Royal Caribbean said net yields, which include cruise
tickets and spending on board, rose 3.6 percent in the quarter,
excluding currency fluctuations.
Net yields for the quarter were the highest since 2000,
driven by vacationers in Brazil and Asia, Chief Financial
Officer Brian Rice said on a post earnings conference call with
Booking volumes also averaged 5 percent more than the year
earlier, the company said.
Royal Caribbean also said demand from Europe -- which has
long been a drag on the company -- strengthened in early
February and the company expects pricing improvement from the
region this year.
Royal Caribbean maintained its full-year earnings forecast
of between $2.30 and $2.50 per share and said it expects net
yields to increase 2 percent to 4 percent.
Net profit rose to $76.2 million, or 35 cents per share, in
the first quarter ended March 31, from $47.0 million, or 21
cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue for the company, whose lines also include Celebrity
Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, rose 4 percent to $1.91
Analysts on average expected the company to report a profit
of 20 cents per share on revenue of $1.88 billion.
(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya