What happened

Cruise ship stocks jumped on Monday, following excellent news from drugmaker Moderna. By the market close, shares of Carnival (NYSE:CCL) (NYSE:CUK), Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NYSE:NCLH) were up 9.7%, 6.9%, and 6.2%, respectively. 

So what

Moderna said its experimental coronavirus vaccine could be more than 94% effective at preventing COVID-19. The welcome development follows a similar announcement from Pfizer and BioNTech last week, which said their vaccine candidate could be over 90% effective at combating the dangerous disease. Investors cheered the news, and many bid up shares of cruise companies in hopes of a forthcoming recovery for the beleaguered industry.

A cruise ship is sailing in the ocean with the sun shining behind it.

Cruise ship stocks rallied on Monday as investors looked ahead to brighter days. Image source: Getty Images.

Cruise lines, like many travel-related companies, have seen their businesses decimated by coronavirus-related restrictions and cancellations. With most of their ships unable to set sail, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line have burned through billions in cash. Investors are hoping the major cruise ship operators can stay afloat until the crisis subsides. Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech's vaccine candidates could make that more likely.

Now what

It's important to note that these vaccines have not yet received regulatory approval. And even if they do, they will likely not be widely available until at least the spring of 2021. So there's still a ways to go before the cruise industry can realistically look ahead to a sustained recovery in customer traffic and, by extension, profits.

Still, Moderna and Pfizer's efficacy data is certainly good news, and investors are understandably bidding up shares of the companies that stand to benefit the most when the coronavirus pandemic eventually comes to an end.