Cruise line pricing is poised to head mildly upward in the second half of 2014, as itineraries in Europe and Alaska that dominate the third quarter take center stage and the weaker Caribbean recedes in importance.
That’s the rough consensus of several Wall Street analysts who track pricing across the industry.
But when broken down by cruise region and cruise line, the pricing picture looks mixed. Cruises in Europe are definitely showing the best price improvement over last year, while the Caribbean lags.
Among the major cruise companies, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) appears to be enjoying the strongest pricing power, with Norwegian Cruise Line struggling and Carnival Corp. starting to put last year’s troubles at its flagship Carnival Cruise Lines brand behind it.
“Demand is improving,” Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Rachael Rothman wrote in a June 12 report. “We believe that net yields will be positive for all operators over 2014, demonstrating that demand has exceeded supply even in spite of the meaningful capacity increase in the Caribbean.”
Other analysts said the industry was benefiting as it gets further from the Carnival Triumph slump of a year ago, but they cautioned that a strong recovery in 2015 is by no means assured.