Carnival Cruisers Are Spending More — Here’s Why and On What

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Carnival Corporation is once again generating income from its fleet, and it’s not only because the ships can again accept paying passengers.

It turns out that once aboard, travelers make up for missed time (and cruises) by opening their wallets and splurging on non-cruise-related things.

What Do Cruisers Spend Their Money On?

Arnold Donald, the president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, recently said that the company’s “onboard revenues per guest are off the charts” on a recent earnings call. “We anticipate cash from operations for the whole business to become positive at some point early next year,” the executive projected, owing in part to the rise in expenditure.

READ: Day 1 of Mardi Gras Trip Report

Onboard revenue increased mostly due to “bar, casino, shops, spa, and internet,” said to Chief Financial Officer David Bernstein. Indeed, our personal experiences, as well as those of Cruise Radio listeners, show that this is true.

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“It was difficult to get a spa or a restaurant reservation while I was onboard Carnival Horizon,” said Cruise Radio reader Brian Lawson. We’ve both reserved seats aboard Sunrise for our Thanksgiving cruise.”

We had the same booking problem earlier this summer when traveling on Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Mardi Gras. It’s also worth noting that both Horizon and Mardi Gras are presently sailing at a lower capacity, which means fewer individuals are vying for those spots.

(It’s also true that restaurants have fewer reservations available to meet social distance needs in many instances.)

Guests are provided with a ‘Fresh Wallet.’


During the results call, Bernstein said that the ships in service during the most recent quarter generated over $90 million in ship-level cash contributions, indicating that they were cash-flow positive. He said, “When individuals come on board, they truly have a new pocketbook.” Overall, it encourages greater onboard spending.”

What is a “new wallet,” exactly?

It basically means that by the time guests board the ship, they have already paid for the whole trip. In other words, they feel freer to spend on luxuries like specialized restaurants than they would if they were confronted with a bill for the full cost of the cruise at the conclusion of the vacation.

READ: Carnival Reports $2 Billion Loss, but Now Has Positive Cash Flow 

Other factors, according to Bernstein, will boost the line’s cash flow in the future, especially when comparing new ships like the Mardi Gras or the forthcoming Carnival Celebration against older ships, including those that have been decommissioned.

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For starters, new ships feature a greater proportion of balconies, which sell for more money than interior or oceanview cabins.

He also said that modern ships had “greater potential for onboard income since bigger ships have more public area.” In other words, they can simply add for-fee venues like Rudi’s Seagrill in Mardi Gras.

Since the relaunch, the business has transported over 500,000 passengers, with 50,000 guests aboard one of its brands on any given day.

And when additional ships return to service, that number — and the associated cash flow from onboard spending — will only rise, with Carnival aiming to have their complete fleet sailing by the spring of 2022.

Carnival Cruisers are spending more, which is why Carnival Cruise Lines stock has been on the rise. Q: Reference: carnival cruise stock.

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