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Post-Concordia UBS survey finds cruise pricing is up—even for Costa

Post-Concordia UBS survey finds cruise pricing is up—even for Costa
One full week after Costa Concordia’s capsize, UBS Investment Research has found that the impact on cruise bookings may not be as negative as feared, and pricing in general is up—even for Costa Crociere.

‘Although we expected that a strong start to wave season would likely be derailed by the accident in Italy last week, ticket prices increased approximately 40 basis points sequentially week-over-week, and could be up as much as approximately 1% since the start of the year,’ said analyst Robin Farley in a note, citing the UBS Cruise Data Tracker.

‘What is even more surprising is that average ticket prices increased since the start of the year for almost every brand that we survey, including Costa,’ Farley added.

UBS data indicate Costa pricing could be up 30 basis points since the start of the year. However, the brokerage said that is less than the increase for every brand other than Cunard, whose pricing is flat.

The UBS Cruise Data Tracker tracks the average of the lowest priced outside cabins for sailings for the six largest North America-sourcing cruise lines and two of the largest European-sourcing lines, a total of more than 7,000 sailings over the forward quarters.

UBS last week adjusted its earnings per share estimates to assume a 50-basis-point impact on demand generally due to Costa Concordia, with an approximate 10% impact on the Costa brand specifically, which nets to a 200-basis-point impact to Carnival overall and a 50-point impact to Royal Caribbean.

The brokerage’s pricing survey indicates strength in Alaska and Caribbean itineraries. UBS found rates across the Caribbean have been up moderately in the last few weeks, including another slight uptick in the wave period so far. Alaska pricing is moderately up since start of year, including an uptick in the last week.

UBS also found that Mediterranean pricing has been stable since the downward pricing adjustment in early November.