New CEO of Carnival Corp., Josh Weinstein, believes that the cruise company is due for a different view from investors, after grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic for the past few years. Weinstein spoke at the 2023 Milken Institute Global Conference, where he stated that he has no plans to sell stock to raise cash and pay down the $32 billion debt that the company has accumulated. Despite this, Weinstein believes that the booking trends for the summer travel season have significantly improved as cruisers return, with the company receiving the most bookings in its history in a three-month period.
Additionally, ticket pricing has been trending up over the past five quarters. These trends set the table for improved free cash flow from Carnival in 2023 and 2024, which could aid in debt pay-down. Furthermore, Carnival has no new ships in development for the first time in a while, which could also bolster free cash flow and debt pay-down. Weinstein acknowledges that it may take years to return to an investment-grade credit rating, but thinks the recovery is well underway.