October 25, 2012 / 1:26 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Royal Caribbean raises profit view on stronger bookings

* Says impact of Costa Concordia "continues to wane"
    * Lifts full-year profit view by 15 cents to $1.85-$1.95
    * Shares rise 11 percent, Carnival shares up 3.2 pct

 (Adds details from conference call)
    By Phil Wahba
    Oct 25 (Reuters) - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd 
raised its full-year forecast on Thursday, saying bookings have
been stronger than expected, even in crisis-hit Europe, and that
it has been able to charge more per cruise.
    Shares of the world's second-largest cruise operator were up
10.4 percent in Thursday morning trading.
    In January, a ship operated by larger rival Carnival Corp &
Plc , the Costa Concordia, ran aground off the
coast of Italy, killing 32 people and leading to a reduction in
bookings and prices industry wide.
    But Royal Caribbean said that the effect of that accident
"has continued to wane" and that bookings in the third quarter
were stronger than expected, even in Europe, where the Costa
Concordia accident made headlines for months and where many
customers have been hit by government austerity measures.
    "There are still challenges in Europe, especially Southern
Europe, but solid demand from other regions appears to be more
than offsetting this," Royal Caribbean Chief Financial Officer
Brian Rice told analysts on a conference call.
     Royal Caribbean, whose other lines include Celebrity
Cruises  did not provide a forecast for 2013, but said it was
"encouraged" by what it is seeing for bookings for next year.
    In July, the cruise operator cut its profit forecast citing
the need to slash cruise prices, and forecast net yields, a
gauge of how much each cabin generates, to fall in the third
    Instead, net yields rose slightly, helped by firmer prices
and stronger demand in every region.
    Royal Caribbean now expects 2012 earnings of $1.85 to $1.95
per share, 15 cents higher than its previous forecast range and
above the $1.78 that analysts were expecting, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
    The company also expects revenue yield, which reflects how
much money each cabin generates beyond the cruise ticket itself,
to be up 3 percent for the year, excluding the effects of
    "We are still seeing price increases in a year marked by so
many external pressures," said Chief Executive Richard Fain.
     Carnival, whose shares were up 3.2 percent, similarly said
last month that prices and demand were both on the rise.
    Royal Caribbean's third-quarter net income fell to $367.8
million, or $1.68 per share, on revenue of $2.26 billion, from
$399 million, or $1.82 per share, on revenue of $2.32 billion a
year earlier.

 (Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn,
Gerald E. McCormick and Sofina Mirza-Reid)
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