Carnival shares fall on ballooning costs, dragging cruise stocks lower

The brand new Carnival Cruise Line ship Mardi Gras, docked in Port Canaveral, Florida on July 30, 2021.

Joe Burbank | Orlando Sentinel | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

Shares of Carnival fell below their pandemic lows on Friday after the cruise line released third-quarter results that showed higher costs associated with inflation, supply chain disruptions and maintaining health protocols and security.

Carnival shares were down about 20% by late morning. The stock fell to a 52-week low of $7.01 earlier in the session, below the stock’s pandemic fall lows in April 2020, when shares traded around $7.80 in intraday.

If Friday’s losses continue, it would reduce Carnival’s market value by nearly $3 billion. Shares of Norwegian and Royal Caribbean also fell on Friday, down 14% and 11%, respectively.

Carnival reported adjusted net losses of $770 million, or 65 cents per share, on revenue of $4.3 billion. Operating costs and expenses totaled $3.4 billion in the quarter, compared to costs of $1.6 billion in the third quarter of 2021.

Carnival said bookings rose 15 percentage points from the prior quarter to 84%. This compares to 54% occupancy during the same period in 2021. Despite governments easing pandemic-era protocols in the United States and, more recently, Canada, the company forecasts fourth-quarter bookings below 2019 levels — at lower prices.

Cruise lines at all levels are struggling with massive debt taken during the Covid lockdowns, made more expensive by rising interest rates. Carnival announced Friday morning $1 billion in principal payments so far for 2022 and a total of $9 billion due by 2025.

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