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Sheehan: 2015 to pick up post-Q1 as charters are lapped, Caribbean supply growth slows

Sheehan - expects real gains after challenging Q1 comps
Norwegian Cruise Line management said the first quarter of 2015 will have tougher net yield yield comparisons with Q1 2014, which included lucrative ship charters, and because the future quarter has a slight industry capacity increase in the still-challenging Caribbean.

'We believe the first quarter will be close to positive, maybe a point up or so ... Things look like they're really improving after the first quarter,' ceo Kevin Sheehan said Thursday.  

Similarly, Royal Caribbean recently reported Q1 looks to be an exception in an otherwise robust 2015 due to the additional Caribbean supply, which moderates as the year goes on.

For Norwegian 2014 opened with two particularly rewarding charters: Norwegian Jade for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and Norwegian Getaway as the 'Bud Light Hotel' in New York for the Super Bowl. The Sochi charter was 'a huge, huge amount' over what the ship could have earned in normal Q1 service, so if yields go up 1% in early 2015, that will be an accomplishment, Sheehan said.

The charters accounted for a little over a point to the 3.8% net yield increase in this year's Q1, he told analysts on the earnings call.

Plus, there was a healthy increase in music charters by events company Sixthman, which Norwegian acquired two years ago.

The 2015 Sixthman charters will be consistent with those of early 2014, cfo Wendy Beck said.