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US GDP grew below 2% but this giant cruise line's growth is full steam ahead

Brian Sozzi

Limp 2% U.S. GDP growth in the third quarter didn’t come ashore in Royal Caribbean’s business.

The giant cruise line operator said its gross yields rose an impressive 6.4% in the quarter, powered by strong demand for cruises across Europe and the Caribbean. Total sales clocked in at $3.22 billion versus projections for $3.18 billion.

Royal Caribbean (RCL) posted third quarter adjusted earnings of $4.27 a share, missing analyst forecasts for $4.31 a share. Earnings included a 15 cents a share hit from Hurricane Dorian.

Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain tells Yahoo Finance that consumers continue to spend aggressively on cruise vacations. He sees no signs of the U.S. consumer going into retrenchment.

“I hear what people are saying about the economy, but so far certainly we haven’t seen any sign of anything other than very positive demand looking forward,” Fain said.

Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas comes into the Port of Miami, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The company’s full year adjusted earnings are seen in the range of $9.50 to $9.55 a share. Previously, Royal Caribbean guided to $9.55 to $9.65 a share.

Fain says bookings for 2020 have already started off “outstanding” for U.S. travelers. Trips are being booked at higher rates year-over-year. Meanwhile, Fain has seen no signs of a China demand slowdown despite the economy’s cooling, and he remains upbeat on Royal Caribbean’s prospects in 2020.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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