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Edited Transcript of NCLH earnings conference call or presentation 20-Feb-20 3:00pm GMT

Q4 2019 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd Earnings Call

Miami Apr 8, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 3:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Andrea DeMarco

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - VP of IR & Corporate Communications

* Frank J. Del Rio

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director

* Mark A. Kempa

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Brandt Antoine Montour

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst

* Felicia Rae Kantor Hendrix

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Harry Croyle Curtis

Instinet, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Analyst of Gaming, Leisure & Lodging

* Jared H. Shojaian

Wolfe Research, LLC - Director & Senior Analyst

* Paul Alexander Golding

Macquarie Research - Analyst

* Stephen White Grambling

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Steven Moyer Wieczynski

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst

* Thomas Glassbrooke Allen

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Timothy Andrew Conder

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Leisure Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good morning, and welcome to the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Earnings Conference Call. My name is Daniel, and I will be your operator. (Operator Instructions). As a reminder to all participants, this conference call is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Ms. Andrea DeMarco, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, Corporate Communications and ESG. Mr. Marco, please proceed.

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Andrea DeMarco, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - VP of IR & Corporate Communications [2]

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Thank you, Daniel. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us for our fourth quarter and full year 2019 earnings call. I'm joined today by Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; and Mark Kempa, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Frank will begin the call with opening commentary, after which Mark will follow to discuss results for the quarter and full year as well as provide guidance for 2020 before handing the call back to Frank for closing remarks. We will then open the call for your questions. As a reminder, this conference call is being simultaneously webcast on the company's Investor Relations website at www.nclhltdinvestor.com. We will also make references to a slide presentation during this call, which may also be found on our Investor Relations website. Both the conference call and presentation will be available for replay for 30 days following today's call. Before we discuss our results, I would like to cover a few items.

Our press release with fourth quarter and full year 2019 results was issued this morning and is available on our Investor Relations website. This call includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from such statements. These statements should be considered in conjunction with the cautionary statement contained in our earnings release. Our comments may also reference non-GAAP financial measures. A reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure and other associated disclosures are contained in our earnings release and presentation. With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Frank Del Rio. Frank?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Thank you, Andrea, and good morning, everyone. We have a lot of ground to cover today, and we fully understand that there is 1 topic on top of everyone's mind. So while we will address the coronavirus outbreak in detail, I will begin my commentary first with a brief overview of our record 2019 financial results, after which I will turn to 2020 and discuss the impacts of the outbreak.

We aim to be as transparent as possible, but with the virus situation as fluid as it is and with so many unknowns at this time, please understand that there may be questions you have, to which we simply will not be able to give you definitive answers to.

So let's begin. The 2019 storyline for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings can be best described in one single word, resilience, a theme that will surely carry over into 2020 as we confront the effects of the virus outbreak.

Focusing on just 2019 and with headwinds from the southern cessation of cruises to Cuba and the impact of Hurricane Dorian, the year that just ended allowed us to demonstrate, once again, the strength and resilience of our business model. A model founded on operating 3 award-winning global brands in each of the industry's major categories, a focus on sourcing the best guests from around the world, but anchored in North America consistently diversifying our deployments and quickly redeploying vessels as needed, depending on market conditions and our go-to-market strategy of emphasizing value over price as the main lever to drive demand.

Despite these headwinds, the company still delivered record financial results, which reflect a doubling over the last 5 years of revenue to approximately $6.5 billion, adjusted EBITDA, approaching $2 billion and adjusted earnings per share reaching an all-time high and above the $5 mark for the first time in our company's history.

In addition, our strong cash generation enabled us to return meaningful levels of capital to our shareholders during the year.

Aside from the strong financial results, 2019 was also a year of notable achievements, many of which strengthened the foundation for our future growth.

Slide 4 highlights our top 10 milestones of 2019. This past fall, we took delivery of Norwegian Encore, the Norwegian brand's newest, largest and most innovated -- innovative ship to date. We have received the best feedback ever for a new ship introduction, generating over 2.4 billion positive media impressions.

In addition, you should know that Encore is the best booked, highest priced ship ever introduced in the Caribbean market in the Norwegian brand's history. In addition to exciting additions to the fleet, 2019 also brought excitement and enhancements to Great Stirrup Cay, our private Island in the Bahamas.

We recently unveiled Silver Cove, our new upscale oceanfront lagoon on the island and the initial reception from guests has been phenomenal. This industry-first exclusive oceanfront luxury enclave includes 38 air-conditioned private beachfront villas, a Mandara spa with full-service beachfront treatments as well as the exclusive Moet & Chandon Bar.

The addition of Silver Cove adds an exclusive and luxurious element to complement the pristine beaches, water sport activities, action adventure attractions and other amenities available on the island.

2019 also saw exciting new build orders for the Oceania and Regent brands. Oceania Cruises announced an order for 2 new 1,200 berthed ships that will add to brand's fleet in 2022 and 2025.

And meanwhile, Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced an order for a third vessel in its successful Explorer class for delivery in 2023.

Now turning to 2020. We find ourselves in an environment where the resilience of our business model will be tested once again by the noncontrollable external factors. The effects of the coronavirus outbreak on our business has been swift and severe, and the continuous global headline news coverage has been substantial and unrelentless.

I'd now like to take you through a brief description and chronology of events prior to and during the outbreak and how these events align with booking patterns so far this year.

Prior to the emergence of the virus, 2020 was shaping up to be an incredibly good year, without question another record year in a string of record years.

We entered 2020 in a record book position at all 3 brands and at higher prices on a comparable basis. This strong book position further improved during the early stages of Wave as both the volume and pricing of bookings accelerated with all 3 brands experiencing very strong booking volumes at higher prices through late January.

We have provided 2020 full year guidance, excluding impacts of the virus that were commensurate with the strength we were experiencing entering the year and during the early part of Wave.

Our adjusted earnings per share for full year 2020 was expected to be in the range of $5.40 to $5.60 with net yield growth in the range of 2% to 3%, and we were on track to achieving our full speed ahead 2020 targets.

The virus' initial impact of the cruise industry began with the cancellation of a number of sailings by operators who had ships dedicated to the Chinese market and with sales from Chinese ports.

With 0 capacity dedicated to the Chinese source market and with only approximately 10 basis points of our global sourcing coming from China, the impact on our brands was deemed to be minimal at the time. Concerns then extended very quickly to include 10 Asian voyages that originated outside of China, but that called on Chinese ports.

While these itineraries were quickly modified to avoid or bypass Chinese ports and were replaced with Asian ports of call outside of China, trepidation by American and other western consumers resulted in increased cancellations and a slowdown in new bookings for sailings in the region.

As the outbreak intensified into February, and countries throughout Southeast Asia, refused to allow the docking of cruise ships on their shores, more drastic itinerary modifications were necessary, including the cancellation of certain sailings.

Subsequent negative news coverage greatly intensified. And unfortunately, the cruise industry drew much of the media's focus, primarily due to the quarantine of a competitor's cruise vessel in Japan.

At this point, a broader and more meaningful slowdown in new bookings and an increase in cancellations began to develop for sailings outside of Asia. Since the outbreak began, we have taken several aggressive and proactive measures to assure the safety, security and well-being of our guests and crew by implementing strict embarkation and screening protocols for guests and crew that meet or exceed cleanup mandated standards across our fleet, which includes denying embarkation to any guess or crew member that has visited mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the 30 days prior to embarkation.

Along with these and other health and safety precautions, we have also taken proactive steps to reduce our exposure to Asia. In an abundance of caution and due to the uncertainties surrounding port entry and berthing availability in destinations throughout the region, and most importantly because our book guests and potential new customers are currently reluctant to travel to and sail in and around Asia, we have canceled or modified the remainder of our voyages in the region across our 3 brands through the end of the third quarter.

These cancellations and modifications comprised 40 voyages in all: 10 for the Oceania Cruises brand, 6 for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and 24 for Norwegian Cruise Line, 21 of which are for the Norwegian Spirit, which will reposition from Asia and be redeployed to the Eastern Mediterranean. While Spirit will have an extremely condensed booking window ahead of our first sailings, we believe that given the unknown duration and severity of the situation, this deployment change provides us with the best opportunity to max our revenue and earnings potential, given the circumstances and once again demonstrates our company's nimbleness and flexibility to quickly redeploy assets as necessary.

This redeployment in the aforementioned cancellations of other voyages leaves us with 0 capacity in Asia through the third quarter. In the near term, and as of this call, due to the direct impact of the virus on our business, which includes guest refunds and incentive compensation stemming from itinerary modifications and voyage cancellations and the redeployment of Norwegian spirit to Europe with a shortened booking window, we expect a direct impact to 2020 adjusted earnings per share of approximately $0.75 per share.

Please note that given the unknown duration and severity of the outbreak, there may be additional direct impacts that are not yet quantifiable as well as material indirect impact affecting the broader global consumer demand environment and which] extend to our global deployments outside of Asia, which cannot be quantified at this time. Based on the known direct impact of $0.75 per share and the yet unknown and unquantifiable potential additional direct and/or indirect financial impacts from the virus, we no longer anticipate achieving our full speed ahead 2020 targets by year-end.

While we are withdrawing our targets, we want to be clear that we remain committed to their fundamental tenants of growing return on invested capital and earnings per share, while maintaining a strong balance sheet and returning meaningful capital to shareholders.

There are, however, some silver linings in the immediate and near-term that point to the underlying resilience of our business and the potential for a reasonably timed recovery. First is that our book of business entering the year was so strong that adjusted for the redeployment of Norwegian Spirit, our book position and pricing remains slightly ahead of this time last year on a comparable basis.

This strong book position demonstrates a strong demand and fundamentals of our business, the volume of our advanced bookings and the potential for outsized returns when business comes back to normal.

Second, onboard revenue per sailings outside of Asia continued to perform above last year's record levels and better than our current year expectations demonstrating that any consumer concerns does not extend once guests are on-board.

Third, the sale of future cruises onboard to guests currently sailing continue to exceed both prior year record levels and current expectations.

And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, in the previous 5 days, we have seen an improvement in week-over-week booking volumes and a decrease in cancellations when compared to the prior 3 weeks. And while I do not want to conclude any definitive turnaround trend just yet, given the relatively short time period being analyzed, it is at least one data point of a possible positive change.

As an industry and as a company, we have faced and overcome challenges similar to COVID-19 in the past, and I am confident that this challenge will be no different.

From past experience of similar events, it usually takes 8-plus weeks from the time the new cycle peaks to when we can expect consumers return to normal purchasing patterns, and we remain confident that it's not a matter of if this will occur, but a matter of when.

For further proof, I refer you to Slide 7 in our earnings presentations. For as long as many of us have been in or have followed the cruise industry, more people cruise in any given year than the year proceeding it despite geopolitical and macroeconomic events that have occurred around the world.

Ours is as resilient an industry as there is. And I believe this virus outbreak will be another example that the industry will overcome. I'll be back at the end of the call for some final words. But for now, I'd like to turn the call over to Mark for a review of results and guidance. Mark?

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [4]

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Thank you, Frank. Unless otherwise noted, my commentary compares 2019 and 2018 net yield and adjusted net cruise cost, excluding fuel per capacity day metrics on a constant currency basis. In addition, unless otherwise noted, 2020 guidance figures exclude any direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor this situation and its potential impact to our results. I'll begin with commentary on our fourth quarter and full year results followed by our 2020 outlook.

As you can see on Slide 8, strong revenue performance in the fourth quarter driven by strong pricing for close-in bookings and better-than-expected onboard revenue drove earnings above expectations with adjusted EPS of $0.73, beating guidance by $0.04, inclusive of the previously disclosed $0.09 impact from Hurricane Dorian and $0.04 of headwinds from foreign exchange rates.

Focusing on the top line, net yield growth was 1.8% in the fourth quarter outperforming guidance of flat to prior year. This is inclusive of approximately 110 basis point drag from Hurricane Dorian.

If not for the 440 basis point impact from both Cuba and Dorian, as shown on Slide 9, net yield growth in the quarter would have reached 6.2%, demonstrating the strength of our core top line fundamentals.

Turning to costs. Adjusted net cruise costs, excluding fuel, increased 4% versus prior year and 3.4% on an as-reported basis. Costs were higher than guidance, primarily driven by increase in marketing and other investments. Fuel expense for the quarter was slightly higher than expectations due to an increase in fuel price per metric ton net of hedges which came in at $508 versus guidance of $498.

Turning to the full year results. 2019 finished strong, and we delivered yet another year of record financial performance despite significant external headwinds. Revenue, net yield and adjusted earnings per share were all the highest in our company's history.

Looking at Slide 10. Full year adjusted earnings per share was $5.09, beating November guidance by $0.04. This beat was inclusive of the $0.04 foreign exchange headwind previously noted. Outperformance in the top line from continued strong demand for our portfolio of products also contributed to the earnings beat. Revenue grew 6.7% over prior year on capacity of 2.1%, reaching a record $6.5 billion.

To put our performance in perspective, I'll refer you to Slide 11. If not for the $0.67 of headwinds from Cuba, Dorian and Pearl, our adjusted EPS would have reached $5.76, well ahead of our initial February guidance of $5.20 to $5.30. This would have represented a 17% increase in adjusted EPS versus prior year.

Other key financial metrics for the full year 2019 include net yield growth of 3.6% or 2.9% on an as-reported basis, which exceeded our November guidance by 60 basis points. If not for the 200 basis point headwind from Cuba, Pearl and Dorian net yield would have been 5.6%. Adjusted net cruise cost excluding fuel increased 6.2% or 5.5% on an as-reported basis. And fuel price per metric ton net of hedges increased to $491 million from $483 in the prior year.

Shifting to 2020, as Frank mentioned earlier, the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in direct and indirect impacts on our operations, including the modification and cancellation of certain sailings as well as reduced booking activity over the last several weeks. Our 2020 capacity prior to the canceled voyages, was expected to increase approximately 8.9% due to the addition of Norwegian Encore last November and the introduction of Seven Seas Splendor this month.

Post the canceled sailings, our capacity growth is expected to be approximately 8.1%. I'll direct you to Slide 12 to review some deployment highlights. Note these deployment figures include impacts in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak. The main highlights include an expected decrease in Caribbean capacity versus prior year as 2 ships that were originally sailing to Cuba were redeployed out of the region. Europe capacity is expected to be up almost 30%, as we deploy additional ships to the region in the peak summer season, as well as the 21 redeployed Norwegian Spirit sailings.

Alaska has been a key market, and we've strategically increased our presence through both destination development initiatives and increased capacity with the introduction of new innovative hardware to the region. Our capacity is expected to be up approximately 20% and primarily due to the addition of a fourth Norwegian ship to the market, Norwegian Sun, which offers destination-intensive 7 to 15-day itineraries from Seattle.

Asia capacity is expected to be down low to mid-teens, which factors in the 40 voyages that were recently modified or canceled, including the 21 redeployed Norwegian Spirit sailings. The entire Asia/Africa/Pacific region now comprises just 5% of our deployment mix for the year. First quarter deployment is similar to prior year, as it is the most Caribbean centric quarter with over 60% of our capacity deployed in the market. Looking at expectations for the full year 2020 on Slide 13, we are providing guidance, excluding direct and indirect impacts from COVID-19.

Adjusted EPS is expected to be in the range of $5.40 to $5.60. This guidance includes capital allocation as part of our full speed ahead 2020 targets, which we have now withdrawn. Given the uncertainty around the duration and extent of this outbreak we will evaluate our capital allocation strategy quarter-to-quarter.

To date, the current direct adjusted EPS impact of COVID-19 is approximately $0.75 per share and is almost all comprised of lost revenue from a total of 40 canceled, modified or redeployed sailings in Asia through the end of the third quarter across our 3 brands. This includes 10 canceled sailings, 8 of which are on our -- hot on Regent and Oceania brands, which garner yields well above the corporate average. As well as the close end redeployment of the 21 Asia sailings to the Eastern Med on Norwegian Spirit that have an extremely condensed booking window.

The virus situation is extremely fluid, and while we expect additional direct and indirect impacts, it is simply too early to quantify potential broader headwinds to the business resulting from softer global demand for travel and tourism. Net yields for the year is expected to increase in the range of 2% to 3% on both a constant and as-reported basis. This performance is on top of the strong growth we delivered in 2019 of 3.6%. This guidance excludes approximately 300 basis points of known direct coronavirus impact, primarily weighted to the first half of the year.

Moving on to costs. Adjusted net cruise cost, excluding fuel, is expected to be up approximately 1.25% on both a constant and reported basis. The increase is primarily due to higher total dry dock days and associated costs versus prior year and includes 2 extended 40-plus day dry docks for Norwegian Spirit in the first quarter and Pride of America in the second quarter. As well as technology and other investments aimed at process improvement to support our future growth.

Focusing on the fuel environment on Slide 14. IMO 2020 regulations are now in effect resulting in a shift in MGO consumption from approximately 30% in 2019, to approximately 60% in 2020, which is in line with our previous expectations. This coupled with an increase in consumption resulting from capacity growth is driving fuel expense higher versus prior year. We anticipate our fuel price per metric ton net of hedges to be $560 with expected consumption of approximately 885,000 metric tons.

Fuel expense is slightly higher than expectations provided in November due to an increase in at the pump pricing. There are a few key items to keep in mind for the balance of 2020. Due to the fluid nature of the impact from the outbreak, cadence may shift throughout the year. What we can share right now is our expectation that the first and second quarters will have the largest direct COVID-19 impacts, primarily resulting from the canceled modified or redeployed sailings.

Net yield growth is still expected to be lower in the first half of the year, primarily due to tough pricing comparisons from Cuba sailings in 2019. We expect net yield growth for the second quarter to be the lowest yield growth quarter as a result of tough Cuba comps, the 40-plus day dry docks in the high-yielding -- of the high-yielding Pride of America, and the incremental capacity days associated with Norwegian Joy versus prior year where she was out of service during her dry dock and repositioning to Alaska.

Now let's take a look at our expectations for the first quarter, which exclude any impact from COVID-19, which can be found on Slide 15. Net yield is expected to increase approximately 0.25 point or flat on an as-reported basis. And adjusted net cruise cost excluding fuel is expected to be up approximately 4.5% or 4.25% on a reported basis. We anticipate our fuel price per metric ton net of hedges to be $602 with expected consumption of approximately 232,000 metric tons.

Taking all of this into account, adjusted EPS for the first quarter is expected to be approximately $0.48. In terms of the impact from COVID-19, we expect that of the $0.75 known direct impact for the year, approximately $0.25 will fall into the first quarter, which equates to a 450 basis point impact on net yield growth. Before returning the call to Frank, I want to reiterate that coming into the year and through its first few weeks, our core business fundamentals were solid as ever, and we were well on our way to another record year. While the current environment is temporarily impacting our business.

The team at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is working tirelessly to do what is right for our guests, crew and shareholders while protecting the equity of our brands. We believe in our business model, which has demonstrated its resilience time and time, again.

With that, I'll hand the call back over to Frank to provide closing commentary.

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [5]

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Thank you, Mark. We continue to focus on strengthening the foundation for our company's future growth. As you can see on Slide 16, several of the initiatives underway demonstrate our deepening commitment to enhancing our environment, social and governance strategy. One of these initiatives was the launch of a dedicated ESG department which will coordinate closely with departments across the organization as well as with the technology and environmental, safety and security committee of our Board of Directors.

From our commitment to greater female representation on our Board of Directors, which was recently recognized by the Women's Forum of New York to our significant contributions to emergency relief in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian and in Australia to help combat the devastating bushfires, our company has stepped up in meaningful ways. On the environment front, we received positive marks, a B minus in our first disclosure to the carbon disclosure project, better known as CDP. We are also focused on developing key port infrastructure.

This spring, we will officially unveil the "Pearl" of Miami, our stunning game-changing terminal right here at Port Miami, which is being constructed to LEED Gold Standards and where we first welcomed nearly 25% of all guests we board annually. We also continue to develop several projects in Alaska to ensure and enhance our presence in this important and very profitable market. These initiatives mark the latest steps in our continual efforts to strengthen our presence in strategic ports and destinations around the world. Lastly, we were incredibly pleased with the reception of Regent's newest ship Seven Seas Splendor, which has outperformed our record-setting sister ship, Seven Seas Explorer, who was introduced in 2016.

And coincidentally, after her Transatlantic crossing from the shipyard, Splendor arrived in Miami today to prepare for her christening.

Splendor is truly magnificent and deserving of our billing of luxury perfected. She is resonating with both new and loyal past guests alike, which is why she is garnering the highest yield in our fleet and I'll bet, the highest yields of any Ocean cruise ship in the industry. I look forward to showing her off to our valued past guests, travel partners, media and the investment community throughout her upcoming inaugural sailings and I -- her christening ceremony, which will be heard we held tomorrow evening at a black-tie affair at Port Miami.

Before turning the call over to Q&A, I'd like to leave you with some key takeaways from our call today on Slide 18. First, the company once again demonstrated the resilience of its business model in the face of several significant headwinds and delivered another year of record financial results in 2019. Second, we entered 2020 in a record book position with strong booking activity through late January prior to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

We have taken aggressive and proactive steps to protect our guest crew and our long-term brand equity by modifying, canceling or redeploying 40 sailings to significantly reduce our exposure in Asia.

And lastly, we continue to lay the foundation for our future growth, including initiatives around ESG, port infrastructure and new builds.

And with that, Daniel, I'd like to open the call for Q&A.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions). Our first question comes from Harry Curtis with Instinet.

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Harry Croyle Curtis, Instinet, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Analyst of Gaming, Leisure & Lodging [2]

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My question is related to your comment, Frank, about not getting too excited, at least being too early about the notion of current bookings stabilizing. I think it's probably worth giving additional color on that. And particularly, what are your agents saying about their customers rebooking interest at this point, particularly in some of the markets that really have not been impacted domestically in Continental Europe and Alaska? What are they seeing there?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Yes. Harry, look, as I said earlier, business was just sailing right through to the end of January, and then the virus really became a headline news. And as you know, the cruise industry was at the forefront, unfortunately, of headline news for reasons that we know. And that has caused near panic in the traveling public. And so we've seen a meaningful decrease in new bookings, we have seen meaningful increases in cancellation, not just for our Asia sailings, but throughout the deployment. And the decrease in bookings is similar to what we see -- we have seen in past similar events, whether they be geopolitical during the financial crisis, et cetera. What's a little bit different about this one is the increase in cancellations. The good news is that over the last 5 booking days beginning Saturday, that decline has moderated. So that we are no longer seeing week-over-week acceleration in the declines of bookings and increasing cancellations, we're seeing a moderation and I'm hopeful.

And again, I could only say hopeful because it's -- 5 days does not make a definitive trend. But I'm hopeful that we've seen the worst of the booking slowdown, and we can begin the healing process that, as we've seen in the past, typically takes about 8 weeks to after the end of the peak new cycle before consumers return to more normal. But our travel partners, our business partners tell me that what they're seeing across their broad portfolio of business is similar to what I'm talking about.

Business is soft, people are scared to travel, not just on cruise ships. But first, on airplanes, in many cases, long-haul destinations do require customers to, first, get on an airplane before they get on a ship. And right now, we have -- people are scared. People are worried. And until we see the leveling off of new cases, the cruise industry, not being the poster child for the virus. This may continue for some time.

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Operator [4]

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Our next question comes from Stephen Grambling with Goldman Sachs.

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Stephen White Grambling, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [5]

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As a follow-up, just on Coronavirus and the $0.75. Can you just quantify how much of this is from cancellations, modifications, on Asia itineraries cancellations on other itineraries and/or any impact that's estimated to net yields in existing markets for moving ships?

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [6]

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Steve, it's Mark. Yes. So the $0.75 is what we know today for all of our canceled and modified sailings. We were very explicit to say that this does not take into account any sort of indirect potential impacts on future demand. So as we said in our prepared remarks, we had over 40 -- we had 40 sailings, which were somehow impacted, 21 of those have been redeployed out of Asia to Eastern Europe, Eastern Med with a very short condensed booking window. But more importantly, we cancel -- outright canceled 10 voyages, 8 of those voyages came off the OCI and Regent brands. And you have to remember, those are very long lead booking itineraries with very high Per Diems. Those voyages were completely sold out. And they span a time period over the next 2 to 2.5 months. So we canceled though. That's a significant impact for us.

So we have not taken into account, we just do not have enough information to give a reasonable assessment of what the future could look like from a softer demand picture.

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Stephen White Grambling, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [7]

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Great. And maybe a very quick follow-up. Frank, you mentioned that the consumer spending typically are returns 8 weeks after the peak of the news cycle. When you look at the data, do you typically see a catch-up in demand as that alleviates? Or does it take effectively a full year of lapping that to see the normalized trend?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [8]

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No, it doesn't take a full year, but it's not instant mashed potatoes either. I mean, there is somewhat of a modified V-shaped, U-shaped return. But we saw it in -- last time, we saw this was in 2016 after the string of geopolitical events that occurred. 2017 was a very good year. 2018 was even better. So again, it all depends on the duration, severity extent of this very fluid situation.

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Operator [9]

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Our next question comes from Felicia Hendrix with Barclays.

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Felicia Rae Kantor Hendrix, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst [10]

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Thank you for the very clear data in this confusing time. Frank, I was wondering if you could talk about your strategy on price integrity. I know you said you've been seeing a small improvement in the past in terms of bookings and cancellations, and you just touched upon that again. But can you discuss how you've been thinking strategically about stimulating demand and how sacred are your strategies to not use price as a demand driver? And then I just wanted to clarify something that you said, just in terms of your prior kind of goals, the full speed ahead. I know that you have the $0.75 impact and that affects free cash flow and all that. But given where our estimates are in terms of free cash flow in 2020? I mean, it seems like a little bit of a drop in the bucket. So just wondering if you're opting to keep your powder dry? Or will you seek to take advantage of the stock price dislocation?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [11]

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Felicia, that was 7 or 8 questions in one. I'll try to remember them all.

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Felicia Rae Kantor Hendrix, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst [12]

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It was 1 question. It was a long one.

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [13]

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I'll take the last one first in terms of our cash flows. Look, any time you lose $0.75 of earnings per share, cash is impacted and all the other metrics that revolve around earnings get impacted like ROIC, which is why we've withdrawn our full speed ahead targets, at least through 2020.

Look, we're going to look at the overall situation, the risk reward profile, the price of the stock to see how we move forward with our capital allocation. We're still committed as much as ever to return meaningful capital to shareholders.

As you know, when the year began, the thought was that we were going to continue taking advantage of dislocations in the market of our stock price, with the hope that we can introduce a dividend in the back half of the year. While I don't want to say that those goals are off the table for this year. I think those goals may be more difficult to achieve this year, given the unknowns surrounding coronavirus.

Pivoting to the question of pricing and how does this affect our go-to-market strategy, I will tell you that we're not going to allow what we believe is a temporary situation to derail us from our long-term proven go-to-market strategy of focusing on value to consumers over using low price as a lever to stimulate demand.

Having said that, given what we're seeing in Q2 primarily, and what our competitors -- how our competitors are reacting you're going to see pricing action across the spectrum, we need to stay competitive. But we will not do it in a way in which we believe will hurt the long-term brand equity and our long-term desires to increase pricing year-over-year.

I remind you that there are companies that have not yet returned to their pre-financial recession back in 2008 yield levels. And that is something that we guard with our lives literally. So I think you're going to see because of competitive pressures, some pricing deterioration in the short term, we will focus, again, the way we go-to-market with value-focused offers as opposed to outright decreases in price. But I think, overall, I think you're going to see yields decrease in the short term.

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Felicia Rae Kantor Hendrix, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst [14]

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I just want to clarify. When you said -- i just wanted to know when you say, you will see some pricing deterioration in the short time, you mean among competitor, not from you?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [15]

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Well, I think, us as well I mean, we can't just stick our head in the sand and say, we're not going to respond. We're going to compete in the marketplace with that elusive customer, we do it in a way that does not have price as the main driver. But I imagine and I forecast that you will see a combination of pricing action from us, but heavily skewed towards, again, the value proposition to lure that customer that may be out there.

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [16]

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And Felicia, this is Mark. One other thought on our cash flow question. We've been very vocal to say that we are going to be free cash flow positive this year. And we still intend to be free cash flow positive. We are spinning off significant amounts of cash. So while this does put a small dent in the outlook, it certainly does not derail us.

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Operator [17]

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Your next question comes from Steven Wieczynski with Stifel.

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Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [18]

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Mark, if we go back to the $0.75 impact that you guys called out. I want to clarify something. I guess, does that $0.75 assume those canceled sailings don't get rebooked? And I guess, a better way of saying that is we use Norwegian Spirit, for example, are you assuming any kind of yield contribution from those changed itineraries? Or are you just assuming those 21 Spirit itineraries are canceled? I guess, what I'm saying here is it seems like that number might be a little bit high to us.

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [19]

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So I will answer that question in two parts, Steve. So the first part is, of the 10 canceled sailings, we are not trying to resell those. So that is a definitive loss of revenue.

On the remaining sailings that primarily the Spirit, yes, we are redeploying her. We are putting her back on sail. But what you have to remember is we are essentially starting from 0. It's not an itinerary, where we went from region A to region B that was right next door where you can lure the customer in. So we're essentially starting from a 0 base.

So we do anticipate that there's going to be some yield dilution on that itinerary. So it really represents a delta on what we were expecting to get out of Asia with the Spirit versus the close-end nature out of the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [20]

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So if Spirit actually books out okay over the next couple of months. That $0.75 would be lowered. Is that fair?

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [21]

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It's -- you're absolutely correct. If it exceeds our expectations on rebooking and getting her back to a good load factor where we anticipate we are certainly going to take price action. We're not going to leave price on the table if the demand is there.

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Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [22]

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Okay, got you. And then we've gotten a lot of questions from investors over the past couple of weeks about -- what's the -- and this is impossible to probably say, but I think there's a fear that this virus is going to have a material long-term impact on bookings and crews, in general. And with headlines of diamond Princess being called a floating prison and stuff like that. I think investors are absolutely panicking right now that this is going to linger for a long time.

And I guess, the question is how do you counter that? Or how do you -- do you think this is just another kind of blip on the radar and things will go back to normal? Or how would you kind of attack that?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [23]

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Yes. Look, nothing is permanent. Consumers do have a relatively short memory, thank God. We have seen in the not-too-distant past other major events affecting the cruise industry that will quickly overcome and that may be brand or company specific. One of the reasons we took the aggressive action that we took in canceling cruises and moving complete -- the fleet completely out of Asia, is that we don't want a repeat of what happened in Japan to refer to any of our brands.

So among the things that we have done, Steve, is to withdraw our fleet from Asia. That is a big step 1. Luckily for us, we've never had a major presence in Asia, less than 6% of our annual capacity was deployed to Asia.

We had 0 base in the Chinese market, which is the market, I think that we'll take it on the chin in the short-term more than anywhere else. And we're good marketers. We know how to market our product. We market value over price, and I think that our go-to-market strategy will serve us well in these challenging times, more so than if all we did was drop price.

So I remain confident that the long-term viability of this company is superior to others in the marketplace, whether it's on the cruise industry or the broader travel industries. It's a great, young fleet, new ships, exciting products to offer a terrific management team.

And so while no one wants to go through what we're going through today, especially on the heels of what was a great 2019 and what promises to be even a greater '20, I think that the long-term earnings potential of this company, the cash flow generation of this company, the way that we're going to grow earnings, ROIC and return meaningful capital to shareholders has not changed.

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Operator [24]

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(Operator Instructions). Our next question comes from Brandt Montour with JP Morgan.

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Brandt Antoine Montour, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [25]

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I just wanted to talk about the 1Q guidance ex virus. I'm just trying to understand, maybe you could remind us what the Cuba impact was in the 1Q as well as one of your larger peers had a -- in 1Q that also kind of surprised people on the downside and maybe called out Australia and bushfires and a couple of other things. So I was wondering if there was any other things you could kind of peel back for us in trying to understand maybe the like-for-like clean net yield growth in the 1Q?

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [26]

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Brandt, this is Mark. So as we've said in prior commentary, the Cuba impact was the main drag year-over-year when we look at the first half. And that primarily, obviously, that impacts both Q1 and Q2. So we've said that Cuba this year, on a rolling basis, is about $0.20 to $0.25 of yield impact. That's split relatively evenly between Q1 and Q2. There's a bit of a delta there. But that is the -- when you look at the yield, that's the core headwind that we're looking at ex the coronavirus.

As we said in our prepared remarks, our brands prior to this outbreak, were doing well. We were booked ahead. We were booked at higher prices. We haven't touched on it much today, but our onboard revenue, when you look at our Q4 onboard revenue, it continued to perform very, very strong. We had great results in our first month of 2020, January, it exceeded our expectations. And even onboard revenue now that consumers who are on the ship today, they are still spending more and more money across the Board. So once the consumer is there, they're not afraid to spend. So but Cuba was a tough comp. So -- and we've always said, upside, apart from that really comes on the back of onboard revenue.

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Brandt Antoine Montour, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [27]

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Okay. So that's helpful. And then just quickly on the virus situation in sort of the shorter-term bookings commentary that you guys have made. You're looking at the data, are you seeing any sort of differentiation between customers that are booking sort of any shifting preferences to locations that are further away from Asia or other areas that might be sort of deemed "safer'? Anything like that you can call out?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [28]

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The impact of the virus on bookings and cancellation has been pretty even across the Board. When you peel back the onion and do a deeper dive. What we're seeing is, especially by the American customer, those destinations that they deem to be safer are faring better than others. So for example, Alaska and the Caribbean. They're closer to home. In many cases, you don't have to get on an airplane to get to the Caribbean ports those seem to be doing better than some of the more exotic or far-flung destinations.

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Operator [29]

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Our next question comes from Thomas Allen with Morgan Stanley.

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Thomas Glassbrooke Allen, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst [30]

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Can you quantify how many sailings and passengers carried you've had year-to-date? And then how many cases of coronavirus you've had?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [31]

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Are you kidding me? Do you know who you're talking to, which company you're talking with? Zero, absolutely zero.

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Thomas Glassbrooke Allen, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst [32]

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I am trying to make that point, right?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [33]

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There's been only one company with coronavirus outbreaks, one, and it's not us.

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Thomas Glassbrooke Allen, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst [34]

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So could you say how many sailings you had, so that people understand that you've had lots of sailings?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [35]

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Dozens. Dozens of sailings. Dozens. Next question, please.

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Thomas Glassbrooke Allen, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst [36]

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So a follow-up question, is there a way to quantify how -- if bookings were -- so I assume the commentary you've made so far about bookings being weaker has been for about the past month. If bookings went back to normal tomorrow, is there a way to quantify the indirect impact?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [37]

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There will be no indirect impact.

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Thomas Glassbrooke Allen, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst [38]

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So -- but you said there's been weak bookings for about a month so...

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [39]

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Next one up on the lineup, please.

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Operator [40]

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Our next question comes from Jared Shojaian with Wolfe Research.

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Jared H. Shojaian, Wolfe Research, LLC - Director & Senior Analyst [41]

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I will ask a non-coronavirus related question, just given the amount of focus so far. On the CapEx guidance, can you just talk about why that came up for 2020 and 2021. And the initial guidance for 2022 is also higher than I would have expected. I think it's a record year. So can you just talk about what's driving that? Why raise CapEx at this specific time? And then what kind of flexibility do you have to reduce CapEx if needed?

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [42]

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Jared, it's Mark. So certainly, we have flexibility to reduce certain CapEx where needed. It's always a delicate balance because, of course, you don't want to damage the brand for short-term gains. We -- this is a long-term business, and it's -- and we want to continue investing on that. But of course, we always have plan B and plan C should be needed.

In relation to the CapEx for 2020 and 2021, the increase is primarily as a result of a couple of our new building contract becoming effective. If you look back into all of our Q filings, we had not included in our contractual commitments, shipyard payments related to the 2 Oceania ship vessels and the third Explorer vessel, and subsequently, over the course of the quarter, 2 of those contracts actually became effective wherein that we received authorization from the Italian export credit agency, and we've been very explicit on that in all of our filings. So it's not necessarily an increase in general CapEx. It's just the fact that that our new building CapEx is coming online for effective contracts.

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Jared H. Shojaian, Wolfe Research, LLC - Director & Senior Analyst [43]

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Okay. And then, I guess, pre-virus, you were guiding 2% to 3% yield growth? Or that's what you're guiding, excluding the coronavirus impact given all that you've said and all that we know in terms of 2020 was shaping up very well. Demand in wave season is really strong. You're lapping the Cuba effects. You've got new accretive ships coming on, a lot of marketing spend, I guess, 2% to 3% yield doesn't really seem to tie to as well as the environment would have seemed to have been. So can you maybe just help me understand what went into that 2% to 3% yield growth?

And any chance that you may have been somewhat conservative in that number?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [44]

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Well, it's early in the year. And I think, as we've always said, we tend to take a a bit of a cautious approach.

Yes, bookings were doing very, very well prior to the outbreak. And we've always said that we guide 2% to 3% on the top line. We do have Splendor, which is coming online, that will be accretive to our corporate yields. That's going to be somewhat offset by the Encore, which we've said we think the combination of the 2 of those are really going to be a net neutral. And then we're rolling over some of the incremental or rolling over the annual season of Encore.

So certainly, 2% to 3% is our range and outperformance on that would come from both revenue and ticket and on board.

And as I said earlier, on-board has been doing very well despite what's going on in the marketplace. So I think that would have been the key variable.

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Operator [45]

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Our next question comes from Paul Golding with Macquarie.

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Paul Alexander Golding, Macquarie Research - Analyst [46]

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So the first piece of the corona sort of remediation here with the Eastern Med Spirit redeployment. I was wondering if there was any more detail you could give around yield, how that might comp just as far as what's baked into the $0.75 impact?

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [47]

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Well, I think what you're referring to is in terms of what are our expectations around the spirit in the new market. And and I think I had commented on that with Steve, is that, listen, it's a very short booking window. That is a great itinerary. We do expect to receive some pricing and load that would not be commensurate with our typical expectations, just given the short nature of the booking window.

So there is a delta of what we believe that we can actually extract out of that market versus what she was planned to do, but we're going to do everything in our power to garner as much price as we can.

But again, more importantly, we're starting from 0, and it's a very short window. We have to keep that in mind.

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [48]

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And we don't want to stray from our go-to-market strategy. And therefore, you're not going to see the kind of pricing action that would require us to have in the marketplace to fill that ship, especially with only 2, 3, 4 months runway compared to the typical 15 to 18 months runway that cruise lines give themselves to fill a sailing.

So it's too early to tell what the yield impact is on the differential between what the ship would have done, had she stayed in Asia under normal circumstance, what the ship would have generated in Asia had she stated under the current circumstance and what she will actually perform, we'll have to wait and see.

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Paul Alexander Golding, Macquarie Research - Analyst [49]

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Understood. And then just looking at the new terminal in Miami, is there anything that we can start to think about as far as potential tailwinds from that, anything from the dynamic with how you price cruising out of there? Anything that's not in guidance from that?

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [50]

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Well, look, anything we can do to make our cruises out of Miami, which is our #1 port of embarkation, more attractive, I think, will certainly help attract a higher level of customers, which we're always after, because we know that those who pay the most to get on spend the most once they're on.

Daniel, we have time for one more question.

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Operator [51]

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And our final question comes from Tim Conder with Wells Fargo.

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Timothy Andrew Conder, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Leisure Analyst [52]

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Frank, first of all, thank you, and we appreciate your passion, your love for 0, in particular. So I did want to reconfirm, though, that the $0.75 that is what you know as direct impact. So any of the impacts that you're seeing indirectly that's not in the $5.40 to $5.60 guidance. So there's some unknown piece of the indirect, just to reconfirm that we should anticipate there's some other number yet unquantifiable. Is that fair?

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [53]

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Tim, that is exactly correct. It is the $0.75 is only what we know from our canceled sailings and some level of differential on the spirit. It explicitly does not include any indirect impact from general softness in the crew space. We just simply cannot quantify that at this point on a reasonable basis.

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Timothy Andrew Conder, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Leisure Analyst [54]

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Okay. No, very, very fair. Very fair. And lastly, total other question here, fuel. Mark, you gave the updated guidance for 2020, what should we anticipate the mix of your fuel? You talked about how due to IMO 2020, that's going to jump this year, just maybe update us on that number.

But then how should we see as the cadence of that coming, maybe going to something normal out in '22 or whenever may be. How do you see that progressing from the mix from '20 to '21 to '22?

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Mark A. Kempa, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - Executive VP & CFO [55]

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Yes. Certainly, so mix shifted today in '19 and prior, we were burning about 30% MGO. It went to about 60% MGO this year. And with our exhaust gas scrubber program in place, in '21, we anticipate that it will level out somewhere around the 50%. And thereafter, all of our new builds that would come online in the following years would simply help reduce that 50%. So I would say for '21 and '22, it's going to be about a 50-50 mix, and then we'll see some slight decrease thereafter each year.

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Frank J. Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. - President, CEO & Director [56]

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Okay. Thanks, everyone, for your time. And for the most part, your informed questions. As always, we will be available to answer any other questions you have later today. Bye-bye.

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Operator [57]

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Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.