Investing in Carnival Cruise Line Stock (CCL)

What you need to know when investing in Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Corp. (CCL) is one of the largest leisure travel companies in the world. It operates global cruise lines including its leading Carnival Cruise Line brand, as well as Princess Cruises, Seabourn, P&O Cruises, Cunard, and others. The company operates 87 ships visiting more than 700 ports worldwide and catering to nearly 13 million passengers each year.

Carnival Corp. and Carnival plc operate a dual-listed company. Carnival Corp's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker CCL, while Carnival plc is traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol CCL.L and as an American depositary share (ADS) on the NYSE under the symbol CUK.

The two companies operate as a single economic enterprise, sharing a single senior executive management team under identical boards of directors while maintaining distinct legal identities.

The company began as Carnival Cruise Line, formed in 1972 by Ted Arison. It made an initial public offering (IPO) of 20% of its common stock in 1987. Carnival Corp. was incorporated in Panama in 1974, while Carnival plc was incorporated in England and Wales in 2000. The current corporate structure is the result of Carnival's merger with P&O Princess Cruises in 2003. On April 22, 2003, Carnival Corp. and Carnival plc began trading on the NYSE and LSE respectively.

Carnival is headquartered in Miami. Micky Arison chairs both Carnival boards, while Arnold W. Donald is the chief executive officer (CEO). For investing purposes, Carnival is grouped with the consumer cyclical (consumer discretionary) sector, operating within the hotels, restaurants and leisure industry. The company's direct competitors include Royal Caribbean Group (RCL), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), and Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. (LIND). It also faces competition from the broader travel and tourism industry, including resorts, casinos, and theme parks. For FY 2021, ended Nov. 30, 2021, Carnival reported a net loss of $9.5 billion on revenue of $1.9 billion.

Key Takeaways

  • Carnival operates global cruise lines including Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, and others.
  • Its major competitors include Royal Caribbean Group (RCL), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), and Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. (LIND).
  • For FY 2021, ended Nov. 30, 2021, Carnival reported a net loss of $9.5 billion on revenue of $1.9 billion.
  • Carnival followed a $2.3 billion debt refinancing with an upsized sale of $2 billion in non-investment grade bonds in October 2021.
  • Carnival resumed operation of its entire fleet on May 2, 2022 with the relaunch of cruises on its ship, the Carnival Splendor.

Carnival's Recent Developments

  • On May 12, 2022 Carnival broke ground on a new port in the Bahamas which is expected to open in 2024.
  • On May 2, 2022, Carnival's ship, the Carnival Splendor, resumed cruises. With this ship's return to operation, all 23 of Carnivals ships are back in service after pausing operation earlier in the pandemic.
  • As of May 1, 2022, Carnival raised prices of onboard services including WiFi and specialty dining options.
  • On Jan. 31, 2022, Carnival announced an extension through April 30, 2022, of the Carnival Corp. share sale and Carnival plc share purchase program, under which sales of Carnival Corp. stock worth up to $500 million in an at-the-market offering finance repurchases of an equivalent number of the London-listed shares of Carnival plc.
  • On Oct. 20, 2021, Carnival sold an upsized $2 billion issue of 6% 7.5-year unsecured notes, up from the initial $1.5 billion target for the junk bond placement. The deal followed a $2.3 billion debt refinancing earlier in October.
  • On Oct. 12, 2021, Carnival named John Padgett president of Princess Cruises. Padgett had been Carnival's chief experience and innovation officer since 2014.

What's Happening with Carnival and COVID-19?

Carnival suspended cruise operations in March 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Carnival relaunched cruises from the U.S. on July 3, 2021, when the Carnival Vista departed from Galveston, Texas. It has since adopted detailed COVID-19 protocols. These include pre-cruise questionnaires and testing for vaccinated guests, and proof of vaccination required at terminals in advance of boarding.

In April 2022, Carnival said the week ending April 3 was the busiest for bookings in company history, up more than 10% from the prior record. The last of Carnival Cruise Line's 23 ships returned to service on May 2.

As of April 2022, vaccine exemptions for select destinations in the Caribbean were available for a small number of children under 12, as well as teens and adults with medical conditions that preclude vaccination as documented by a medical provider. Unvaccinated guests must present a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken between 24 and 72 hours prior to embarkation in addition to taking an antigen test at embarkation and again within 24 hours of debarkation. Unvaccinated guests also must show proof of travel insurance coverage in some cases, and may only go ashore in ports of call when booked on a Carnival-sponsored tour.

When Did Carnival Restart Its Cruises?

Carnival relaunched cruises from the U.S. on July 3, 2021, when the Carnival Vista departed from Galveston, Texas.

Who is Carnival's CEO?

Arnold W. Donald has been Carnival's chief executive officer since 2013. Donald was previously CEO of the Executive Leadership Council from 2010 to 2012 and of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International from 2006 to 2008. He previously held executive positions at Merisant Co. and Monsanto Co.

Has Carnival (CCL) Ever Split its Stock?

Yes. Carnival has split its stock twice:

  • Dec. 14, 1994: a 2-for-1 split of common shares.
  • June 12, 1998: a 2-for-1 split of common shares.

Does Carnival (CCL) Pay a Dividend?

No, Carnival has not paid a dividend since suspending dividend payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

How Many Shares of Carnival (CCL) Stock Are There?

As of March 21, 2022, Carnival Corp. had 989.7 million shares outstanding.

Article Sources
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  2. Carnival Corp. "Investor Relations."

  3. Carnival Corp & Plc. "Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended Nov. 30, 2021," Page 4.

  4. Carnival Corp. "Corporate Information - Vision, Mission & History."

  5. Carnival Corp. "Officers & Executives."

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  8. Carnival Corp. "4Q 2021 Business Update - Final," Page 9.

  9. Carnival Corp. "Carnival Corporation & plc Announces Extension of the Carnival Corporation Common Stock Share Sale and Carnival plc Share Purchase Program."

  10. Bloomberg. "Carnival to Sell $1.5 Billion Junk Bond as Cruises Return to Water."

  11. PR Newswire. "Carnival Corporation Names John Padgett as President of Princess Cruises."

  12. PR Newswire. "Carnival Cruise Line Kicks Off Its First Cruise From The U.S. With Carnival Vista Sailing From Galveston This Afternoon."

  13. Carnival Corp. "Carnival Cruise Line Is First Major Cruise Line in U.S. to Get Entire Fleet Back to Guest Operations."

  14. Cision PR Newswire. "Carnival Cruise Line Sees Its Highest Booking Week Ever as It Finds Another Way to Celebrate Its 50th Birthday!"

  15. Carnival. "COVID-19 Guest Protocols."

  16. Carnival Corp. "Investor FAQs."

  17. Carnival Corp. "Dividend/Split History."

  18. Carnival Corp. "Form 10-Q for the Quarterly Period Ended Feb. 28, 2022," Page 2.

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