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Carnival confirms restart of cruises from U.S. ports on Fourth of July weekend

Shares of cruise operators rose Monday, after the companies confirmed that sailings will resume from U.S. ports this summer, as early as the Fourth of July weekend.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s stock

hiked up 2.2% in afternoon trading.

The company said before Monday’s open that its Norwegian Cruise Line expects to set sail starting “summer 2021” with cruises from New York, Los Angeles, and Port Canaveral and Miami from Florida.

“I am pleased to continue our Great Cruise Comeback with plans already announced for 23 of our 28 ships across our three brands beginning in July 2021 and phasing in through early 2022,” said Chief Executive Frank Del Rio.

Carnival Corp. shares

climbed 0.9%, after the company said early Monday that its Carnival Vista will resume operations, from the Port of Galveston in Texas, on July 3, and its Carnival Breeze ship will resume operations on July 15.

Carnival said the cruises will be available for people who have proof of being fully vaccinated, “in accordance with current guidelines” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While the company praised the CDC for the progress in resuming cruises, it also said the requirements the CDC have for cruises with people who aren’t vaccinated were too cumbersome to allow them to go cruising on the first ships.

“We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies; however, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests.”

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Meanwhile, shares of Royal Caribbean Group

gained 0.6%, after the company said late Friday that its Freedom of the Seas ship will set sail from Miami, and head to the Bahamas, starting July 2, followed by Odyssey of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 3.

The company said guests “are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated” if eligible, while those who can’t verify that they are vaccinated will be required to undergo testing “and follow other protocols,” which will be announced at another date.

With cruising set to resume, analyst Brandt Montour at J.P. Morgan said he relaunched his monthly cruise ticket pricing tracker, following a seven-month pause.

“The industry is now in the process of restarting operations around the globe, and while many of the currently marketed/pre-existing itineraries will ultimately be changed and it’s still difficult to gain a clear view of “like-for-like” pricing differences, we’re increasingly confident this data can be used to gauge aggregate level pricing now compared to pre-pandemic, as well as month-to-month changes going forward,” Montour wrote in a note to clients.

He said his takeaway from analyzing ticket data is that pricing continues to be positive: “Ticket prices for marketed sailings over the next 12 months, for all three public operators, has tracked well above 2019 levels (~5-15%+) over the past three months.”

Year to date, share of Norwegian have rallied 29.1%, Carnival have advanced 42.2% and Royal Caribbean have run up 26.7%, while the SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector exchange-traded fund has edged up 5.7% and the S&P 500 index

has gained 12.3%.

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