Tepid Demand, Swine Flu Hurt Royal Caribbean's Q2 Earnings

Fears over H1N1/swine flu and the overall sluggish economy swung Royal Caribbean Cruises to a $35.1 million second-quarter loss. The company also warned that its third quarter and fourth quarter were not going to be much better.

At the same time last year, Royal Caribbean made a profit of $84.7 million. But those were different times altogether. "Obviously, the economy continues to be a challenge and the impact from the publicity surrounding H1N1 has been very frustrating," said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises.

If there is a silver lining, the company did say summer bookings have been stable outside Spain, while new bookings for fall have started to outpace last year's fall bookings. Pricing, however, still remains lower than last year.

Royal Caribbean had cautioned investors last month that the swine flu would weigh down results as it had to avoid Mexico ports. The company also had to cancel the launch of Pullmantur's Pacific Dream, which targets the Mexico market. 

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