What happened

Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) shareholders beat the market last month as their company gained 10% compared to a 3.4% boost in the S&P 500, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The increase kept the consumer discretionary stock on pace with the broader market in 2019 and well ahead of chief rival Carnival (NYSE:CCL).

Two couples pose in front of a cruise ship.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

November's rally followed a strong earnings report that Royal Caribbean issued at the end of October. In that announcement executives revealed that sales volumes, pricing, and profitability trends all remained strong despite unusual challenges, including the most disruptive hurricane in the company's history.

Now what

Robust booking trends into 2020 suggest that this positive momentum is continuing even as Carnival struggles with weaker demand in places like southern Europe. Royal Caribbean isn't immune to these economic issues, but recent ship launches and aggressive pushes into exclusive experiences like the Cococay private resort berth have helped the company sail through the recent turbulence in the cruise ship industry.