What happened 

Cruise ship stocks jumped on Wednesday following positive news on the COVID-19 front.

As of 3:30 p.m. ET, shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH -0.88%), Royal Caribbean (RCL -0.66%), and Carnival (CCL 0.67%) (CUK 0.74%) were up 8%, 5%, and 5%, respectively.

So what

Pfizer (PFE -0.97%) said early data from its laboratory studies suggest that a third dose of its vaccine can help to protect against the Omicron variant. The drugmaker reported that a booster shot increases the level (or titer) of neutralizing antibodies by 25-fold, which could provide a similar level of protection against this latest coronavirus mutation as two doses of its vaccine do against the original strain of the virus.

A cruise ship is sailing in the ocean at sunset or sunrise.

Image source: Getty Images.

Pfizer also said that it intends to have a variant-specific vaccine for Omicron available by March -- should it be needed. Additionally, Pfizer expects to receive clinical results for its oral antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, in the coming days. The pharmaceutical giant anticipates that the pill could potentially help reduce hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 by nearly 90%.

Now what 

Many travel-related stocks surged on the news. Investors are betting that if Omicron can be controlled with booster shots and antiviral pills, people will be more willing to book flights and cruises.

That, of course, would bode well for Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line. The major cruise ship operators would love nothing more than to see their ships safely filled with customers once again. And if this hopeful scenario comes to pass, their stocks could rise further in the months ahead.