Carnival: $2 billion loss, but cash-positive operations

Written by Nick Blenkey
Arnold Donald

Carnival Corporation president and CEO Arnold Donald: “During 2021, we believe we have clearly maximized our return to service and strengthened our financial position.” [Image: Screen grab from CNBC interview]

The world’s largest cruise ship operator, Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) released a fourth quarter 2021 business update that included an adjusted net loss of $2 billion. Still, the company saw its stock rise by 4.43% as of 10.15 EST today.

“Since resuming guest cruise operations, we have established effective protocols for COVID-19 and its variants and have returned 65,000 team members and 50 ships, all while delivering an exceptional guest experience to over 1.2 million guests and counting,” said president and CEO Arnold Donald.

“Our cash from operations turned positive in the month of November, and we expect consistently positive cash flow beginning in the second quarter of 2022 as additional ships resume guest cruise operations,” added Donald. “We enter the year with $9.4 billion of liquidity, essentially the same liquidity level as last year but with significantly improved cash flow generation ahead, as ship operating cash flow and customer deposits continue to build. During 2021, we believe we have clearly maximized our return to service and strengthened our financial position to withstand potential volatility on our path to profitability.”


  • U.S. GAAP net loss of $2.6 billion and adjusted net loss of $2.0 billion for the fourth quarter of 2021.
  • Fourth quarter 2021 ended with $9.4 billion of liquidity.
  • For the cruise segments, revenue per passenger cruise day (“PCD”) for the fourth quarter of 2021 increased approximately 4% compared to a strong 2019. The increase was driven in part by exceptionally strong onboard and other revenue.
  • As of November 30, 2021, 61% of the company’s capacity was operating with guests on board and it expects the full fleet to be back in operation in the spring of 2022.
  • Cumulative advanced bookings for the second half of 2022 and first half of 2023 are at the higher end of historical ranges and at higher prices, with or without future cruise credits (“FCC”), normalized for bundled packages, as compared to 2019 sailings.
  • Customer deposits increased $360 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, marking the third consecutive quarter the company has seen an increase in customer deposits.
  • Through its debt management efforts, the company has refinanced over $9 billion to date, reducing its future annual interest expense by approximately $400 million per year and extending maturities, optimizing its debt maturity profile.
  • Carnival Corporation’s CDP score for climate change improved to a B from a C in recognition of enhanced disclosures, including the establishment of its 2030 sustainability goals and 2050 aspirations.


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