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Which cruise line is burning through the most money per ship during shutdown?

The world’s three biggest cruise companies, representing almost 80% of the market, are burning through US $33-million every single day during the global shutdown in cruises, amounting to a combined US $1-billion every month, according to Cruise Industry News.

That’s a staggering amount of money, and puts into context the efforts each line has made to cut costs, from selling off older ships, to laying off staff, to putting employees on unpaid leave and delaying the delivery of new cruise ships.

miami cruise ships

cruise ships docked in miami (archive): the global cruise industry has been at a standstill for more than four months.

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But which of the Big Three (Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian) is spending the most per ship during the lockdown?

According to published information from each line, Carnival Corporation’s laid-up fleet is costing it around US $650-million during the second half of 2020, while Royal Caribbean Cruises is spending around US $250 to $290 million per month.

With the smallest fleet, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings needs around US $160-million per month.

carnival corporation

there are nine cruise lines within the carnival corporation group

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Carnival Corporation is of course the largest cruise company in the world, with nine cruise lines and 104 ships forming part of the group. It owns Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, P&O Australia, Seabourn Cruise Line, Cunard Line and AIDA Cruises.

Royal Caribbean Cruises is the second-largest, with a fleet of 54 ships when including its 50% stake in TUI Cruises. It has full ownership of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea and Azamara, and formerly had a controlling stake in Pullmantur before it was liquidated.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is the umbrella company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, it owns 28 ships, most of them from its flagship NCL brand.

That means Carnival Corporation’s shutdown is costing US $6.2-million per month, while Royal Caribbean is spending US $4.6 to $5.3-million, and Norwegian is spending US $5.7-million.

So Carnival Corporation’s fleet is costing the most on a per-ship basis, while Royal Caribbean currently has the leanest operation, even on the high end of its estimated cash burn per month.

It isn’t taking any chances though, this week the cruise line announced that it has secured a US $700-million loan from the investment banking company Morgan Stanley, using seven of its cruise ships as collateral.

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