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The Carnival cruise ship Carnival Magic sits docked at Port Canaveral in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on April 4, 2020.

John Raoux/The Associated Press

Carnival Corp on Thursday reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss and said advanced bookings for next year were improving, indicating renewed demand for cruising.

The cruise operator, which sails AIDA, Costa and Princess cruises among others, has paused voyages since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing its business to a standstill.

The company, however, said bookings for the second half of 2021 were at the higher end of the historical range, even as prices are down by mid-single digits compared to last year.

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Total customer deposit balance as of Aug. 31 was $2.4 billion, the majority of which were credits given by Carnival for canceled trips, compared to $2.9 billion last year.

“We have come full circle from initiating a suspension in the early days of the pandemic, to transitioning the fleet into a pause status, right sizing our organization and, now, embarking on the phased resumption of guest operations,” Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said.

The company’s cruises Costa in Italy and AIDA in Germany are resuming operations.

The company said it would be able to generate enough liquidity to satisfy obligations for at least the next 12 months.

Carnival’s third-quarter net loss came in at $2.86 billion, compared to a profit of $1.78 billion a year earlier.

On a per share basis, the company lost $2.19, a cent less than analysts' forecast, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Carnival said revenue for the quarter ended Aug. 31 was $31 million, compared with $6.53 billion a year earlier.

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