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This cruise line is still packing its massive ships out

Brian Sozzi

Stock market volatility be damned, people are still finding the money to spend on lavish cruises.

Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Financial Officer Mark Kempa told Yahoo Finance that booking trends have remained strong this year. Further, Kempa said ships are continuing to exert pricing power.

Kempa spoke to Yahoo Finance aboard the newly revamped Oceania Insignia. Norwegian’s sister brand, known for its more laid back country club atmosphere, is undergoing a $100 million remodeling of its older, though vital four ships to be done by 2020. The remodels will include new looks to staterooms and other areas on the ships.

The Insignia alone received a $30 million overhaul that was finished in a mere 16 days. A 180-day cruise on the Insignia could set a person back $40,000 to $200,000 depending on the amenities chosen.

Kempa said given the strong demand Norwegian is seeing on its Oceania ships, the revamps are likely to produce a high return on investment.

Despite the momentum into 2019 and plunge in fuel prices, Norwegian shares are down 19% over the past year. The S&P 500 has notched a 5% drop. Carnival Cruise Line shares are down 21% during that span.

Odds and ends

The owner of the Norwegian, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas brands saw third quarter earnings pop to $2.27 a share from $1.86 a year ago. Earnings outpaced the company’s guidance by 7 cents as cruise goers spent more on board and were willing to pay a greater amount for a ticket. Total sales rose 12.5% from the prior year to $1.90 billion.

Executives lifted the top end of their full-year profit outlook several months ago. And they disclosed that ships were already 65% booked for 2019 at higher prices.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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