What happened

It's another bad day for investors in Carnival (CCL 1.96%) (CUK 1.78%), Royal Caribbean (RCL 0.25%), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH 1.18%). In Thursday trading, the three major cruise line stocks all fell in near lockstep. As of 11:05 a.m. EDT, shares of Carnival are down 4.1%, Royal Caribbean is down 4.3%, and Norwegian is down 5.2%.

So what

Why are cruise stocks down again today? Take your pick of the reasons. The U.S. Department of Labor just reported that claims for unemployment benefits are rising once more, up 4,000 to 870,000 in the week ended Sept. 19. Economists had been hoping jobless claims would decline, and the fact that they're moving the wrong way isn't great news for the economy -- or for the discretionary spending power of consumers who might like to take a cruise, if they only had the money.

Elsewhere in Washington, Congress still hasn't passed a second multi-trillion-dollar stimulus plan. The Fed is taking a wait-and-see approach to trying to stimulate the economy on its own, according to Marketwatch. And on the horizon, there's the approaching prospect of a contested presidential election that could throw the whole country into political turmoil for weeks.  

Chalboard drawing of arrow going down labeled down

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

You might think that all of the above would have people wanting to just hop on a boat, take a cruise vacation, and get away from it all for a while. The problem is, the CDC's no-sail order on American cruise lines remains in effect, and while it's supposed to expire on Sept. 30, in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, there's every reason to fear that the ban on cruising will be extended once again.

No wonder cruise stock investors are down in the dumps today. I have to admit that after reviewing all this news, I feel kind of down myself.