This Week in Cruise: Carnival Releases Year's End Earnings, MSC to Update Lirica-Class Ships

msc liricaCarnival Corporation announced its earnings for the fourth quarter and full year. For the fourth quarter of 2013, the company's U.S. net income was $66 million, or $0.08 diluted earning per share. That compares with $93 million in net income, or $0.12, in 2012. Revenues for fourth quarter 2013 were $3.7 billion compared to $3.6 billion for the prior year. For the full year in 2013, the corporation's net income was $1.1 billion, or $1.39 diluted earnings per share compared to $1.3 billion, or $1.67 per share for the prior year. Revenues for the full year 2013 were $15.5 billion compared to $15.4 billion for the prior year. 

Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation's president and CEO, said fourth quarter earnings were better than the line had anticipated with its September guidance to financial analysts. He believes that this was due primarily to better than expected cruise ticket prices and onboard spending for Carnival Cruise Lines.

“Accelerated progress in Carnival Cruise Lines’ brand recovery had a positive impact on fourth quarter results," Donald said. "A steady stream of innovative product initiatives, the launch of a nationwide marketing campaign and travel agent outreach program, as well as an industry-leading vacation guarantee fueled the brand’s improvement.” 

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MSC Cruises will be updating all four of its Lirica-class ships over the next two years to the tune of $273 million. The multi-million dollar overhaul has been commissioned from Fincantieri in Italy, and will be completed by 2015. The upgrades of MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Opera will add new entertainment options, technological advancements, expanded shopping options and nearly 200 new cabins per ship.

The four Lirica class ships were built between 2003 and 2005 at the STX yards in Saint-Nazaire, France. There are currently 823 feet long, weigh 60,000 tons and carry 2,069 travelers. After the renovations, the ships will be 902 feet long, weigh 65,000 tons and carry 2,680 travelers, including 193 additional cabins (plus 59 new cabins for crew members).

Viking Cruises laid the keel for its first ocean cruise vessel, Viking Star, marking the next construction phase of the company’s first-ever ocean product. The ceremony took place on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard outside Venice, Italy. Viking Star is scheduled to be delivered in early 2015.

Steel was first cut for Viking Star in June 2013, and the laying of the keel is a formal recognition of the start of construction. The company will also launch 14 new river vessels – Viking Longships – in March 2014.

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