What happened

News from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NYSE:NCLH) helped to lift all boats in the beleaguered cruise line sector Monday, after an examination of the Miami-based company's planned cruise dates revealed that at least a few Norwegian cruises were set to depart U.S. ports as early as March 1, 2021. Today, however, more news from Norwegian is having the opposite effect.

And its stock is down 2.5% in 10:20 a.m. EST trading.

Paper boat reads NEWS

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

So what did Norwegian have to say for itself this time? As CruiseIndustryNews.com reports, "Norwegian Cruise Line will not [in fact] be sailing in March, as the Miami-based cruise line has cancelled a handful of remaining departures on three ships," specifically ships departing Miami on March 1 and March 7, and one previously scheduled to depart Port Canaveral, Florida, on March 11.

Note those dates.

Now what

These are, in fact, the same three departure dates that formed the crux of CruiseIndustryNews' Dec. 25 report that seemed to describe an early resumption of cruising by Norwegian next year. They've now all been deleted from the schedule, and as a result, Norwegian now has no planned departures earlier than April 1.

When you consider that it was the March departure dates on Norwegian's website that created optimism among cruise investors on Monday, encouraging a belief that cruising in America might resume earlier than expected next year, you might expect the abrupt deletion of these dates to upset investors a lot more than they're showing today. For the time being, Norwegian Cruise stock is down only a couple percent,  and Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) and Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) shares are actually up a bit.

As the news spreads, however, I'd expect a more pessimistic reaction among investors. If I were a betting man, I'd bet that the next move, for all three of these stocks, will be down.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.