The Royal Caribbean Group has increased its outlook for 2024 after recording better than expected results for the first quarter of the years, thanks to a record WAVE season. 

The industry giant, which owns three cruise companies, saw a significant turnaround from its results during the same period in 2023, going from an adjusted net loss of $59m to an adjusted net profit of $478m thanks to strong onboard revenue and stronger pricing on close-in demands. 

CEO Jason Liberty said: “Demand for our leading brands and the incredible experiences they deliver continues to be very robust, resulting in outperformance in the first quarter, a further increase of full year earnings guidance, and 60% expected earnings growth year over year. 

“Building on this momentum, we expect to achieve all our Trifecta financial goals in 2024, which allows us to focus on a new era of growth to drive long-term shareholder returns and take a greater share of the rapidly growing $1.9 trillion global vacation market.” 

As highlighted by Liberty, the updated outlook for 2024, which puts adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for the year between $10.7 and $10.9, means that the group is expecting to achieve its “Trifecta” goals of reaching triple-digit EBITDA per available passenger cruise days, a ROIC in the teens, and double-digit EPS. 

Royal Caribbean’s “Trifecta” achievement, which would come a year ahead of initial expectations, highlights the strong growth of the cruise industry which was able to rebound from pandemic lows and is projected to grow 11% between 2022 and 2028. 

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The group attributed part of its strong first quarter to experiencing the strongest WAVE season, the period between the winter holiday season and March when cruise companies will offer a high number of promotions, in its history. 

In addition to record ticket pricing, Royal Caribbean said that customers had also been spending more onboard and were making more pre-cruise purchases, such as drinks packages and shore excursions, than in previous years, helping its customer deposit balance to reach $6bn. 

The success of Royal Caribbean’s post-pandemic bounce back was reflected in its recent order for a ninth new ship, and seventh for its new Oasis Class, only three weeks after it launched its new flagship the Icon of the Seas, which became the world’s biggest cruise ship when it was launched in January 2024.