It’s been a whirlwind of uncertainty for Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL) over the last few years. Obviously, Covid plagued the company with unprecedented closures and delays, but just as post-Covid travel optimism was starting to return, the Russia-Ukraine conflict welcomed a whole new range of problems; in particular, fuel prices.
Just a few weeks ago, Carnival posted a heavy Q1 loss, but more drastically cited rising fuel prices as a sole catalyst for posting a loss in FY22. Today, however, the company is singing a different tune today as it has just reported its busiest booking week in the entirety of company history, again leaving investors in two minds about the months to come. CCL shares are currently trading at a daily gain of 6.9%.
The return to travel couldn’t come soon enough for Carnival, which now has 22 of its 23 ships back in guest operations throughout its year-round US homeports. The cruise operator is acting as a hallmark for the strong bounce in consumer demand; with this summer expected to boast through-the-roof sales numbers after two years of pandemic restrictions. For Carnival, the company will have more capacity sailing than in 2019.
Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, expressed her excitement surrounding the travel bounce:
“The excitement of the industry's restart, our successful return of our entire fleet, the guest reaction to Mardi Gras, our loyal guest response to our 50th birthday this year, the support of our travel advisor partners — and of course, the amazing work of our Carnival team — have all contributed to the strong demand we are seeing, and this record-breaking booking week”
A record-breaking week could well be an insight into forthcoming travel trends in the wider industry. As the sector welcomes a powerful resurgence in global bookings, investors should look toward oversold travel stocks that are positioned for a strong year.
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Oliver is a financial writer and analyst specialising in the US stock market, with years of personal experience in understanding micro/macroeconomic structures, market trends and fundamental analysis.