How Carnival Corporation Makes Money

Carnival Corporation & PLC (CCL) is the largest global cruise company with a portfolio of cruise lines that include AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises Australia, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises, and Seabourn. The company operates cruise ships that carry millions of passengers annually. Its fleet comprises 91 different ships across nine brand names.

Key Takeaways

  • Carnival operates a portfolio of cruise-line brands offering year-round and seasonal cruises globally.
  • The company was founded as Carnival Cruise Line in 1972 but changed its name to Carnival Corporation in 1994.
  • Carnival acquired a series of rivals, including P&O Cruises, Holland America, and Costa.
  • The company’s North America and Australia cruise segment is its largest source of revenue.

Carnival’s Industry

Carnival’s competitors range from cruise companies like Royal Caribbean Group (RCL), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), and Lindblad Expeditions Holdings (LIND) to hotel operators, resort companies, casinos, and theme parks like Walt Disney (DIS), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), Marriott International (MAR), and Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT).

Carnival Cruise Line is the company’s leading brand, offering year-round cruises in The Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Mexico, along with seasonal cruises in Bermuda, the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. Carnival operates four separate business segments:

  • North America and Australia Cruise Operations: The NAA cruise operations segment comprises the cruise brands Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises Australia, and Seabourn.
  • Europe and Asia Cruise Operations: This segment includes Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises U.K., and Cunard.
  • Cruise Support: The cruise support segment comprises Carnival’s portfolio of port destinations and other services that support the company’s cruise brands.
  • Tour and Other: Includes Carnival’s tour company, Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, which operates in Alaska and the Canadian northwest territory of Yukon. The company owns and operates hotels, lodges, glass-domed railcars, and buses. It complements the company’s Alaska cruise operations.

$66.2 billion

The estimated worth of the global cruise line industry in 2024.

Carnival’s Financials

For fiscal year (FY) 2023, Carnival reported a total annual revenue of $21.6 billion compared to $12.2 billion for 2022. The company had a net income loss of $74 million in 2023. Demand and improvements in ticket prices helped all brands and contributed to revenue growth in 2023. Carnival reached historical occupancy levels for the second half of 2023.

History and Leadership

Carnival was founded in 1972 as Carnival Cruise Line by Ted Arison. Its maiden ship was the Mardi Gras and converted into an ocean liner. The company changed its name to Carnival Corporation in 1994 and has acquired several other cruise line operators, including P&O Cruises, Holland America Line, and Costa. In 2024, Micky Arison acts as Chairman of the Board and Josh Weinstein is the President, CEO, and Chief Climate Officer.

Recent Developments

In 2023, Carnival implemented cost optimization initiatives to increase the company’s cost efficiencies, such as installing SpaceX’s Starlink next-generation internet across the fleet. This new addition is expected to reduce cost per megabit and improve guest experience.

Carnival added three new ships during 2023 and began construction on Celebration Key in Grand Bahama, the largest and closest exclusive destination expected to open in 2025.

How Was Carnival Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Carnival and others in the travel and tourism industry experienced a major setback during the pandemic. Carnival paused its cruise operations in mid-March 2020. In January 2022, it announced that eight of its nine brands resumed cruise line operations. During the pandemic, revenue in FY 2021 totaled $2 billion compared with FY 2023’s nearly $22 billion.

When Did Carnival Corporation Go Public?

On April 22, 2003, Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc shares (CCL) began trading on the New York and London stock exchanges.

How Does Carnival Support Climate Initiatives?

Each cruise ship maintains an Environmental Officer who oversees shipboard teams adhering to environmental policies and procedures. The office ensures the ship’s compliance with Company and regulatory ecological requirements globally and evaluates how Carnival can minimize the ship’s environmental impact, including waste minimization, water, and energy conservation.

The Bottom Line

Carnival Corporation & PLC is the largest global cruise company, operating 91 ships worldwide in 2024. The company’s North America and Australia segment is its largest source of revenue. Carnival’s competitors include rivals in cruising such as Royal Caribbean and others in the travel sector like Disney.

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