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Cruise popularity gives RCCL record profit

Royal Caribbean Cruises posts record profit, and expects another one this year.

Royal Caribbean Cruises is expecting another year of record profit in 2018 with its ‘critical wave period’ for bookings ahead of last year.

The Miami-based company, which also owns the Celebrity and Azamara cruise brands, made a net profit of $1.63 billion in 2017, a 26.6% increase on the previous year.

This was despite a smaller rise in revenues, up 3.3% to $8.8 billion.

The results have led RCCL to announce a staff bonus, equating to 5% of salary, for all 66,000 employees – in the form of shares in the US-listed company over the next three years, worth around $80 million to staff collectively.

Reflecting the widening popularity of cruises, RCCL says it will exceed these results again in 2018, with bookings for the year “better than last year’s record high and at higher rates”.

Caribbean recovers
Consumers in North America and Europe “continue to drive strong demand” for its cruises, the company said, which means it is now on course for a ninth consecutive year of yield growth.

Part of the reason for this forecasted increase in yields is the launch of three new ships this year: Symphony of the Seas, Celebrity Edge and Azamara Pursuit.

Royal Caribbean admits that sales to the Caribbean had been “relatively soft” for six weeks following hurricanes Irma and Maria last August and September but that bookings “normalised” from November onwards so that sales are now ahead of last year.

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