What happened

Two days after cruise ship operator Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NYSE:NCLH) announced it's got its first boat back in the water -- Norwegian Jade, sailing out of Athens for the first time since March of last year -- rival Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) (NYSE:CUK) was the next cruise stock to report good news.

Yesterday, the "Carnival Miracle" departed the Port of Seattle bound for a week-long cruise to Alaska and back.  

Carnival hailed the resumption of Alaska cruising with a "Back to Fun" ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, and investors celebrated today with an early 2%-plus jump in the stock price. (As of 9:40 a.m. EDT, the stock has given back half that gain, and was up 1.1%.)

Cruise ship in an arctic bay

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

In Carnival's press release announcing the resumption of Alaskan cruising, the company updated investors further on its progress getting its larger fleet restarted. To date, Carnival has resumed operations on four vessels. In addition to Carnival Miracle in Seattle, Washington, the Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze are now sailing regularly out of Galveston, Texas, and the Carnival Horizon is sailing from Miami, Florida.

Now what

Next up will be the Mardi Gras, departing Florida's Port Canaveral July 31, and by "mid-October," the company says 15 of its ships, or more than half its fleet will be back in operation. Although Carnival Corporation is still burning through $500 million a month in negative free cash flow, the faster its ships return to cruising, the more the cash bonfire should shrink.

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