spending@ (Adds details on first-quarter forecast, share move)
Jan 24 (Reuters) - Royal Caribbean Cruises reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue on Wednesday that beat Wall Street estimates, helped by higher on-board spending and lower cruise operating expenses in the crucial holiday season.
However, the No. 2 U.S. cruise operator's 2018 first quarter earnings per share forecast of 95 cents fell short of the average analyst estimate of $1.02.
Shares of the Miami, Florida-based company which is set to debut the world's largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, rose 1 percent to $128.50 in premarket trading.
The company's onboard revenue, which makes up more than one-fourth of its total revenue, rose 5 percent to 584.1 million in the quarter.
The company also announced a bonus plan that would equal to 5 percent of the salaries of its 66,000 employees.
Net income attributable to the company's shareholders rose to $288 million, or $1.34 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from $261.1 million, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.34 per share. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net revenue rose 10 percent in the quarter to $2 billion, beating the analyst average estimate of $1.97 billion. (Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Arun Koyyur)