The $1.9m improvement in net income was primarily due to higher operating results as well as lower depreciation and amortization from the accelerated depreciation related to National Geographic Endeavour's retirement a year ago.
The quarter also included $1.7m of additional stock-based compensation expense primarily related to grants under the 2016 CEO Share Allocation Plan, which gives Sven Lindblad the ability to transfer shares of his holdings to eligible employees, as well as $1.4m in executive severance expense.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization increased 33% to $23.1m. Lindblad segment net yield rose 4% to $1,048, up from $1,008, and occupancy was 91%, in line with the prior year.
The Q3 financial growth was fueled by July's introduction of National Geographic Quest. The quarter also was impacted by the cancellation of four highly booked voyages on the ship, due to a delay in its launch.
Sven Lindblad said bookings in 2017 are up more than 30% versus a year ago.
The company now projects full year 2017 tour revenues in a range of $266m to $270m, and adjusted EBITDA of $42m to $44m. The revenue forecast is slightly lower in part due to impact of the US Department of State's travel advisory for Cuba.
Since that was issued in October, the company hasn't seen many new bookings, while there have been some cancellations. CFO Craig Felenstein said Cuba will still be profitable but not at the return originally projected.
Quest's sister ship, the $57m National Geographic Venture, is scheduled for delivery in Q4 2018. Lindblad also announced it has contracted its first blue-water newbuild, a $135m polar-class expedition ship for early 2020 delivery.