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Royal Caribbean Warns a Sailing Ban Beyond the Third Quarter Could Materially Undermine Business

By Rich Duprey – May 21, 2020 at 12:29PM

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As the country reopens, it's hard to predict what cruises will look like.

As long as the sailing industry is able to get back to booking cruises by late summer, Royal Caribbean (RCL -5.49%) says its business will survive. But if the no-sail ban currently in effect until July 20 is extended, and goes beyond the third quarter, the cruise ship operator warns it will suffer serious consequences.

While the country has been slowly reopening, businesses have taken initiatives to ensure their customers conform to the social distancing guidelines currently in place. The confined quarters of a cruise ship, where some widespread COVID-19 outbreaks occurred, may present a larger challenge.

Cruise ship at sea

Image source: Getty Images.

Shiver me timbers

Royal Caribbean's earnings were worse than expected, with adjusted losses of $6.90 per share. Analysts have taken that into consideration, and while some think pricing will weaken substantially in the future, others see demand picking back up strongly, though perhaps not this year.

However, in the cruise ship operator's quarterly report filed with the SEC this morning, Royal Caribbean had a warning for investors.

It said it is "targeting mid-summer of 2020 to begin sailings; however, if the ban on cruising is extended beyond the third quarter of 2020, it will have a material adverse impact on our current and forecasted liquidity levels."

The cruiser is working with the Centers for Disease Control on developing enhanced safety protocols, but as it is burning through $250 million every month, that's only good if it's able to sail again.


Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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