The timing of Carnival Corp. (CCL)’s Costa Concordia cruise ship’s grounding off the coast of Italy, at the start of the peak booking season, may exacerbate the company’s losses.
About one-third of all cruise vacations are arranged during the so-called wave season from January to March, said Sharon Zackfia, an analyst with William Blair & Co. in Chicago.
“They’re the most profitable bookings,” Zackfia said in an interview. “Presumably most people now are booking for the key summer season, which is when the cruise lines make the bulk of their money.”
Europe accounted for about 38 percent of Carnival’s revenue in fiscal 2010, the last full year for which geographic results are available. Its Genoa-based Costa Crociere unit is the continent’s largest cruise line based on passengers and ship capacity, according to Miami-based Carnival, the world’s biggest cruise operator with brands including Cunard and Princess Cruises.
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