Congratulations, Royal Caribbean
You will no longer be staying in a cramped, musty, interior cabin next to the ship's laundry facilities. Before you get too excited, though, you should know that you're not being bumped up to a presidential suite with personal concierge service and a spa tub in the balcony. Things aren't that much better. However, you're good enough to get a modest outer cabin. Dude, you're getting a porthole!
The cruising giant posted better-than-expected quarterly results today. Sure, it reversed last year's first-quarter profit of $0.35 a share by posting a loss of $0.17 a share this time around, but its earlier guidance called for a deficit between $0.30 a share and $0.35 a share. Revenue took a 7% hit, down to $1.326 billion, but Wall Street was anchored to its $1.31 billion target.
Despite an economy that has been as choppy as ocean waters during a windstorm, RCL is proving itself to be more seaworthy than it thought. Net passenger yields came in better than the company publicly forecast. Net cruise costs clocked in lower than RCL originally modeled.
This doesn't mean that passengers can flush the rest of their Dramamine down the latrine just yet. RCL actually expects revenue yields to fall by 12% to 13% this year. However, the combination of lower fuel costs and belt-tightening elsewhere finds the company comfortable in projecting a profit of $1.35 a share in 2009. That prices the stock at just eight times last night's close of $11.41. As long as fuel prices don't spike -- and a deepening recession doesn’t force RCL to further discount its cabins -- the company is in pretty decent shape.
RCL's report follows last month's better-than-expected report from market leader Carnival
My favorite play in the industry is actually Steiner Leisure
However, I continue to favor the cruising industry and its players over more traditional hoteliers like Wyndham
So enjoy your porthole. And if you decide not to share your bottle of wine once onboard, feel free to also enjoy your port, whole.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz feels that the signature rock walls on RCL ships may not be the only barrier for the company. He has cruised with all four of the operators mentioned in the story, but only owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.