What happened

Shares of Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) beat a booming market last month, gaining 11% compared to a 3% spike in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The increase added to a great year for shareholders, with the stock gaining 37% versus the market's 29% rally.

A retired couple on a cruise.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Investors didn't get any official updates from the cruise ship giant, but they did hear from rival Carnival (NYSE:CCL) in an update that suggested good things for the wider industry. Carnival said in mid-December that strong booking trends outside of southern Europe allowed it to beat management's growth expectations for the fiscal fourth quarter. Wall Street took the opportunity to push both cruise ship stocks higher.

Now what

Royal Caribbean has been outpacing Carnival in all the key growth metrics lately, and so the positive industry news is likely to lift its results, too. Thus, investors are hoping that net revenue yields will rise by 8% or more when the company closes its fiscal year next month. The consumer stock's rally will depend on that performance, in addition to updated comments by the management team on booking trends into 2020.