Feb 2 (Reuters) - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) (RCL.OL), the world's second largest cruise operator, forecast a weak first quarter and said new bookings had been affected as a result of a rival's ship capsizing in January.
"There has been no material change in cancellation activity... However, new booking activity has been hurt," the company said in a statement.
Last month, a ship operated by rival Carnival Corp (CCL.N) hit a reef off the Italian coast, killing at least 16 people. Carnival cut its profit outlook for the year as a result. [ID:nL2E8CU4J3].
Royal Caribbean said overall booking volumes from North America have fallen by low to mid-teen percentages, and dropped more in Europe, where media coverage of the accident has been more extensive.
Royal Caribbean, whose brands include Celebrity, said it expects to earn between $0.10-$0.20 a share in the first quarter.
Wall Street's forecast was for $0.25 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Its fourth-quarter net income was $36.6 million, or 17 cents a share, versus $31.9 million, or 15 cents last year. Analysts had expected 15 cents.
Shares of the company were down 6 percent at $26.52 Thursday before the bell. They closed at $28.24 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
((firstname.lastname@example.org)(+1 312 408 8726)(Reuters messaging: email@example.com, follow me on twitter @tweetsfromnivi)) Keywords: ROYALCARIBBEAN/
(C) Reuters 2011 All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing, or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.