Carnival Cruises Enjoys Huge Bookings Surge- Report

Carnival Corp (CCL) is already enjoying a surge in cruise bookings, indicating that demand remains strong despite the coronavirus pandemic.

After the company announced this week it would restart some cruises in August, Cruise Planners’ Carnival bookings spiked 600% compared to the previous 3 days before the news, reports TMZ.

This represents a 200% increase over the same time period in 2019 – before the coronavirus pandemic even struck- points out TMZ, which spoke to Cruise Planners’, an American Express Travel Representative, travel franchise.

According to the travel company, customers are “not a bit concerned about traveling at this time” with many looking to have fun once restrictions ease.

Carnival Cruise Line plans to resume its North American service from August 1 with a total of eight ships from Miami, Port Canaveral and Galveston.

In connection with this plan, the pause in operations will be extended in all other North American and Australian markets through August 31, the company said.

However there is no guarantee that the cruises will go ahead, with CCL saying: “We continue to work with various government agencies, including the CDC, as we introduce new onboard protocols, but there is no assurance of a return on August 1.”

Carnival stock has plunged 72% year-to-date following major coronavirus outbreaks on a number of cruise ships, including Carnival’s Diamond Princess.

And analysts are staying firmly on the sidelines. In the last three months, the stock has received 2 buy ratings, 7 hold ratings and even 3 sell ratings- giving the stock a Hold analyst consensus. Meanwhile the average price target stands at $23.30. (See CCL’s stock analysis on TipRanks)

“While we expect consumers will be generally eager to return to normalcy once coronavirus concerns abate, we believe the cruise industry is likely to have a much slower recovery given the amount of negative media coverage around coronavirus outbreaks and ships without ports, and maintain our Market Perform rating” comments William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia.

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