It is often noted that cruise lines add services for which they charge passengers separately in addition to the cruise ticket: the largest two cruise shipping groups depend on more than one-fifth of their total revenue on onboard sales.
However, figures from the annual reports of Carnival Corporation & plc and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL), the two largest cruise shipping groups in the world, show that the percentage of on board sales from total revenue has developed differently between the two groups over the past three years.
At Carnival, on board sales accounted for 21.5% of its total revenue of $14.47 billion in the 12 months to 30 November 2010, the company’s latest full financial year. In the previous financial year, the figures stood at 21.4% and $13.46 billion respectively, while in the 2008 financial year, on board sales only had accounted for 20.4% of the total revenue of $14.95 billion.
Meanwhile, at RCCL the share of on board revenue fell to 27.3% of total revenue of $6.75 billion last year from 28.6% and $5.89 billion in 2009, respectively. In 2008, on board sales had accounted for 27.6% of RCCL group’s total revenue of $6.53 billion.
The figures show that from 2008 to 2009, the share of on board sales of total revenue increased at both Carnival and RCCL, by 1.0 percentage points in both cases. Again, both companies recorded a fall in 2010, but in the case of Carnival, this was only 0.1 percentage points (and actually even less if you exclude rounding up of figures to single decimal) , while the fall for RCCL was 1.3 percentage points. This also means that the reading for 2010, of 27.3%, was actually slightly lower than that for 2008 had been (27.6%).
In light of these figures, it seems that RCCL depends more on onboard sales than the Carnival group. On the other hand, Carnival appears to have managed in stabilising the share of on board sales from total revenue better than RCCL last year.