Carnival Corporation has boosted hopes of a resurgence in the global cruise industry, posting profits ahead of market expectations for the first quarter.
The world’s largest cruise operator saw income fall 33 per cent to $175 million (£116 million) – largely due to higher fuel bills - during the first quarter of the financial year.
However, Carnival now predicts earnings of between 26 cents and 30 cents a share for the second quarter, while the average analyst estimate is 24 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.
The operator has seen an eight per cent increase in cruise bookings for the next three quarters, according to the figures, while prices have jumped 17 per cent during the last nine-week period.
“I think we are surprised by the strength of pricing that has come back this year,” chief operating officer Howard Frank explained.
“Whether we can sustain the booking volumes is the next question.”
Revenue in the three months to February 28th climbed to $3.10 billion (£2 billion), up from $2.86 billion (£1.91 billion) in the same quarter last year.
Chief executive Micky Arison explained customers who had postponed holidays last year were now heading back into the market.
“We were very encouraged by our results as pricing continued to rebound off last year’s lows and we returned to top-line revenue growth after a challenging 2009,” Mr Arison added.
Last month Carnival said it would increase prices by as much as five per cent for summer sailings on its Carnival Cruise Lines.
This in contrast to the past year, which has seen cruise operators cut prices to fill their ships.