Cruise Stocks Have Rallied From Their Pandemic Lows — And One Company Is Going Public To Get A Piece of the Action – The Average Joe
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    Cruise Stocks Have Rallied From Their Pandemic Lows — And One Company Is Going Public To Get A Piece of the Action

    Noah Weidner

    April 11, 2024

    After a chaotic pandemic for cruise companies, the choppy waters appear to be subsiding — and Americans are setting sail again. Last year, 31.7M passengers boarded cruises from ports, surpassing pre-Covid levels. And with demand floating up, one cruise company is testing the waters on Wall Street.

    Voyaging to markets: Conde Nast readers named Viking ($VIK) the top cruise company for oceans, rivers, and expeditions. While most people are familiar with ocean cruises, specialty river and expedition cruises have become a hit, and tourists are looking for more scenic ports of call. Viking saw 51% of its 650K guests last year returning for more. The company hopes to use that brand loyalty as it approaches its biggest dock yet — the New York Stock Exchange, where it has filed to go public and could fetch a $10B valuation.

    • Viking dominated the luxury ocean cruise market with a 26% share — capturing over 51% of the specialty North American river cruise market.
    • In 2023, Viking’s revenue jumped nearly 50% to over $4.7B — with adjusted free cash flow and EBITDA exceeding $1B.

    Cruising comeback?

    Viking isn’t the only company riding the wave of post-Covid cruising demand. Carnival ($CCL), Royal Caribbean ($RCL), and Norwegian Cruise Line ($NCLH) have been riding high as bookings bounce back. With cruises making up just 1.5-2% of the total travel market, companies are banking on growth through larger ships and more orders.

    • In January, Royal Caribbean’s $2B Icon of the Seas set sail, claiming the title of the world’s largest cruise ship with a maximum capacity of 7.6K passengers.
    • On Tuesday, Norwegian placed a record order for eight new cruise ships — aiming to meet rising demand and expand passenger loads by 4-6% annually through 2036.

    Forward-looking: Cruise Industry News predicts that 14 new cruise ships will hit the seas in 2024 — just in time for a 12.6% passenger increase this year forecasted by the Cruise Line International Association. Fresh competition in the cruise market, like Virgin Cruises, is shaking things up with all-inclusive fares and subscription models targeting chronic cruisers.

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