Carnival warns of up to $10M profit hit from Baltimore bridge collapse

MONEY & BUSINESS: Carnival warns of up to $10M profit hit from Baltimore bridge collapse



Carnival warned that its 2024 earnings could take up to a $10 million hit as a result of the Baltimore bridge collapse, which has halted the cruise line’s ability to access its Maryland port.

Carnival chief Josh Weinstein told investors during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Wednesday that its ships will temporarily dock in Norfolk, Va., “which should help to minimize operational changes,” The Wall Street Journal earlier reported.

The Carnival Legend ship set sail Sunday for a seven-day Bahamas cruise — two days before the Francis Scott Key Bridge crumbled when it was hit by a container ship around 1:30 a.m. ET Tuesday in what was quickly declared a mass-casualty event.

Instead of returning to Baltimore this weekend, Carnival Legend will end its trip in Norfolk, “and guests will be provided complimentary bus service back to Baltimore,” the company said in a press release.

The next seven-day voyage, scheduled for March 31, will also operate out of Carnival’s Virginia port.

Carnival Cruise Line warned Wednesday that its 2024 earnings could take up to a $10 million hit as a result of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY / USA TODAY NETWORK

“Guests on the current and upcoming cruises are being informed of this change,” Carnival said.

Despite expecting an eight-figure disruption to its annual adjusted earnings as a result of this diversion, Carnival has yet to factor the $10 million hit into its full-year adjusted profit guidance, which it raised marginally to $5.63 billion for 2024.

Previously, Carnival anticipated raking in about $5.6 billion in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, while analysts had estimated $5.64 billion.

Carnival CEO Josh Weinstein told investors during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Wednesday that its ships will temporarily dock in Norfolk, Va., “which should help to minimize operational changes.” REUTERS

In a news release issued by Maryland Gov. Wes Moore last month, the Port of Baltimore was celebrated as “the best port in the nation” and one of Maryland’s largest economic generators.

In 2023, more than 444,000 cruised out of the port, which generates some 15,300 direct jobs and nearly 140,000 roles linked to port activities, Moore said.

The cruise business has been on the rise post-pandemic.

The Key Bridge crumbled after being hit by container ship Dali on March 27. National Transportation Safety Board / Youtube /AFP via Getty Images

In the past year alone, Carnival’s stock has run up more than 95%.

The Miami-based cruise operator also reported on Wednesday that its revenues for the first quarter of 2024 surged 22% to a record $5.4 billion.

Weinstein said the company is succeeding in lifting its prices to customers without hurting demand, per The Journal.

He added that customers have also booked more in advance this year than they historically have, boosting Carnival’s confidence that it can max out its ships’ capacities this summer without last-minute discounts.

Representatives for Carnival did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Instead of returning to Baltimore this weekend, Carnival Legend will end its trip in Norfolk. (Pictured: Carnival cruise ship passing under Key Bridge.) Michael Walker/Facebook

Royal Caribbean — which has its own itinerary scheduled return to Baltimore from the Caribbean on April 4 — is close to erasing its pandemic losses, according to The Journal, and boasts 40% more pre-cruise revenue booked as of March 2024 than in the same period of 2023.

However, the cruise line has yet to comment on how the Key Bridge’s collapse could impact that momentum.

Royal Caribbean has only advised that its “closely monitoring the situation” ahead of April 4, when Vision of the Seas is returning to Baltimore from its 12-night Caribbean voyage.

“Our port logistics team is currently working on alternatives for Vision of the Seas’ ongoing and upcoming sailing,” added Royal Caribbean, which has another trip slated to set sail from Baltimore on April 12.



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