Like so many, we are keeping a weather eye on the economy during this global recession. For us, that means continuing to manage costs while taking prudent steps to grow our Company.
Our brightest spot so far is how our people have been able to reduce expenses and deliver better-than-expected results. Our continued fuel consumption reduction initiatives are helping offset some of the cost of rising oil prices.
While it is still early, our measures of vacation booking rate and sales volume – especially for the newer ships – give us high hopes for improving revenues in 2010.
Of course, our Company is continuing to be cautious. We recently sold public bonds to raise cash to pay down newbuild loans and to invest in money markets.
However, notice that we havekept all our new ship orders. Our new Solstice-class ships are doing extremely well and Oasis of the Seas is generating great excitement even before delivery. We are also investing in our Azamara cruise line by bringing in a separate president to focus exclusively on its success. We have continued our heavy investment in international markets including establishing new offices in China, Brazil and Australia. And we are focused on continuous improvement in safety, security, health and the environment. All of these investments are essential to position us for the future.
And as always, our new ships are marvels that amaze and delight our passengers. Our passenger ratings are at their highest levels ever. When you have the most innovative ships in the industry, and employees who deliver the best vacation experience to our guests, you are in a good position to weather even the most difficult of economic storms.
The bottom line is we are keeping our brands’ momentum. Our business has been resilient – even in this dreadful recession. Imagine how well we will do when the recession is over!