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Norwegian Cruise Line cancels Israel stops

The passenger cruise ship Norwegian Prima arrives at the French Mediterranean port of Marseille. (Photo by Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Gerard Bottino | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings on Wednesday said it would cancel its stops in Israel this year and into 2024, as that country’s war with militant group Hamas continues to escalate.

The company slashed its full-year outlook, also citing the wildfires in Maui. Norwegian said it now expects adjusted per-share earnings of 73 cents for the year, compared with its prior forecast of 80 cents.

Shares of the company fell about 2% on Wednesday.

The Israel conflict has also impacted broader cruises to the Middle East area beyond just its Israel stops, the company said on its earnings call. Last week, rival cruise line Royal Caribbean Group said canceled sailings to Israel will negatively impact its earnings for the year by three cents a share.

Norwegian remains optimistic that the Israel conflict will be short-term, company executives said on the earnings call, so the company is bullish about the ability to return to the Middle East soon.

“One of the main strengths and differentiators in our industry is our ability to reposition our assets, which is what we’ve done with the heightened tensions in the Middle East,” CEO Harry Sommer said on the call. “The safety and well being of our guests and crew members are without a doubt our number one priority.”

The cruise company also the wildfires in Maui forced Norwegian to modify some August itineraries. Though regular stops resumed in September, the company said they experienced a slowdown in bookings – which has since improved to almost normal levels – concentrated in the fourth quarter.

The company lowered its 2023 occupancy outlook to 102.6% from 103.5%, citing the disruptions affecting fourth quarter performance.

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