Higher demand meant the company started 2005 with less inventory to sell than in 2004.
Williams described overall pricing as 'solid' and 'consistently above the same time last year' in today's earnings call with analysts. Net pricing is especially strong in Europe and Alaska.
Europe accounts for 11% of the company's total capacity, a 35% increase. Booked load factor is 'much higher' year over year, with pricing 'slightly ahead.' Europe is so important that Royal Caribbean is looking to boost capacity there again in 2006, Williams said. Good yield improvement is expected this year in Alaska, 7% of total capacity, a 5% increase over last year.
The core seven-night Caribbean product is 38% of total capacity in 2005, 5% lower year over year. Booked loads are 'well ahead' of last year at this time and pricing is higher. Royal Caribbean has slightly more capacity in the short Caribbean market during 2005 and sees a 'somewhat flat to modest yield increase.' In Bermuda, capacity is higher (9%), and Williams described the program as 'really strong so far.' Panama Canal capacity is up (12%) and a 'very strong' performance is also seen there. Eleven percent less capacity is deployed in Mexico, where yields are 'flat to modestly up.'