Royal Caribbean pledges 28 ships as collateral for $3.3 bln bond offering

May 13 (Reuters) - Royal Caribbean Cruises launched a new $3.3 billion bond offering on Wednesday and said it would use 28 of its ships as collateral, as it looks to stay afloat after the COVID-19 pandemic upended the industry.

The company, which was forced to suspend its cruises globally and cut about 26% of its U.S. workforce, said it would use the proceeds from the private note offering to repay a $2.35 billion 364-day term loan agreement with Morgan Stanley.

Earlier in May, rival Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd had raised over $2.2 billion through debt and equity offerings, giving it much needed funds to survive for at least the next 18 months. The company used two of its ships and two private islands as collateral for the debt offering.

It was not immediately clear which ships Royal Caribbean pledged for the offering. It had vessels with a net book value of about $22.7 billion as of Dec. 31, including the world’s largest cruise ship - Symphony of the Seas.

As of April 30, Royal Caribbean had cash and cash equivalents of about $2.3 billion. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)