Cruise ship operator Carnival (NYSE:CCL)(NYSE:CUK) said it expects to post a massive $2 billion loss in its fiscal fourth quarter as it prepares to resume sailing this year.

But in a hopeful note, Carnival also said its cash burn rate was somewhat better than it had expected, though that was due mostly to the timing of its capital expenditures.

Carnival Princess cruise ship

The Carnival Princess. Image source: Carnival.

Carnival reported it expects a net loss of $2.2 billion for the quarter ended Nov. 30, worse than analyst forecasts of a $1.6 billion loss. But excluding one-time items, the cruise operator said adjusted losses would be $1.9 billion.

The company said it has sufficient liquidity to survive the ongoing crisis, even if it has zero revenue coming in, as it ended the quarter with $9.5 billion in cash resulting from opportunistic cash-raising events. 

Carnival said that since March, it has raised $19 billion, including by borrowing $3 billion under its export credit facilities in September, October, and December; issuing $2 billion in senior unsecured notes in November; and completing a $1 billion at-the-market equity offering in September and a similar $1.5 billion program in November.

That added a substantial amount of debt to its balance sheet, and by the end of August, Carnival had already amassed almost $19 billion worth.

Yet it also noted its monthly cash burn rate was $500 million, or "slightly better than expected," and said its first-quarter monthly cash burn was forecast to be $600 million.

With its Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises divisions having begun operations again, Carnival is looking to roll out more cruises around the world across 2021. Consumers still want to cruise, as indicated by the fact that Carnival says its cumulative advanced bookings for the first half of 2022 are ahead of 2019.

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