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Why Norwegian Cruise, Carnival Corporation, and Royal Caribbean Stocks Just Crashed

By Rich Smith – Dec 13, 2021 at 6:28AM

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Omicron is everywhere, and vaccines can't seem to stop it.

What happened

It's Monday, cruise line stocks are down, and the reason -- as always -- is coronavirus.

Over the weekend, conflicting but generally negative stories about the new omicron variant of COVID-19 had a deleterious effect on the share prices of Royal Caribbean (RCL -0.59%), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH -2.56%), and Carnival Corporation (CCL -4.77%), which are down 4.5%, 4.7%, and 5.3%, respectively.

3 lightning strikes around a cruise ship.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

What news in particular? Well basically, omicron is spreading across the country and around the world just as we feared it would. Dr. Anthony Fauci ran the Sunday morning talk show circuit over the weekend to encourage Americans to get "optimally protected" by "absolutely" getting booster shots. But even so, the president's chief medical advisor admitted that omicron seems able to evade immunization conferred by currently available COVID-19 vaccines.  

The UK just recorded its first death from omicron. And over in Israel, an early adopter of widespread vaccination, a study conducted by the Health Ministry's Central Virology Lab just concluded that even taking three injections of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine (i.e., getting fully vaccinated, plus getting a booster) leaves people four times more vulnerable to infection by omicron than they would have been to the delta variant of coronavirus.    

Now what

Now, if you think that might spook travelers and potential cruise customers just a little bit, well, judging from today's share prices I'd say you're right about that.

Adding to the industry's misery, though, is that last night it was reported that a passenger aboard the Carnival Miracle cruise ship off the coast of Mexico fell to her (presumed) death from a fifth-floor stateroom balcony. Coast Guard searches for the victim were called off after 31 hours of fruitless effort. Coronavirus wasn't the culprit in this sad tale, but newspaper The Sun is reporting that "foul play" is suspected -- i.e., the woman was pushed.

The incident added just one more cloud to an already gloomy forecast for travel investors today.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Carnival. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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