It is very common for companies to follow pricing efforts of their competitors. This is true when it comes to hotels, airfares, food, toys, cars and every other goof or service that is purchased. It is also true about the cruising industry. While cruises are being sold at dirt-cheap prices for future sailings, the industry has further extended the relaunch of its vessels for future cruises due to multiple conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession that has come from it.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) issued a very short press release on Wednesday that its cruising suspension has been extended through July 31 and that it plans to return to service on August 1, 2020. Royal Caribbean’s cruises in China will return to service after the end of June.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH) announced on Wednesday that its cruising suspension was extended through July 31 as well. Beyond its namesake brand, Norwegian’s press release also indicated that the suspension would include its Oceania and Regent Seven Seas lines with embarkation dates from July 1, 2020, through July 31, 2020.
Norwegian also announced that guests who had booked voyages with embarkation dates falling between July 1 and July 31 should contact their travel agent or the cruise line for further information.
Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) had been more aggressive earlier than its rivals. Back on May 4, 2020, the company advised guests and travel agents that its plan was effectively to begin a phase-in resumption of its North American cruises beginning on August 1. That phase-in was to include eight ships from ports in Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida and in Galveston, Texas.
Carnival had also announced on May 4 that its pause in operations was being extended in all other North American ports of embarkation and in Australian markets through August 31. Cancellations in other ports were even further out.
Royal Caribbean stock was trading down 3.7% at $40.60 on Wednesday afternoon. That is more than 100% from its panic-selling low of $19.25 during the pandemic, but it is would have to rally another 200% to reach its 52-week high of $135.32.
Much of the same carnage has been felt in the other peers. Norwegian Cruise Line traded flat on the day at $12.43, and its 52-week range is $7.03 to $59.78. Shares of Carnival were down just 0.6% at $14.03, in a 52-week range of $7.80 to $53.86.
One company is routinely overlooked as being crushed within the cruising sector in travel and leisure. OneSpaWorld Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: OSW) is a small-cap stock with a mere $373 million market cap. The company calls itself the pre-eminent global provider of health and wellness products and services on cruise ships (175) and also in destination resorts (68). It has also been a COVID-19 victim, and it recently announced plans to raise $75 million in equity financing. OneSpaWorld traded down one cent at $6.07 on Wednesday afternoon, and it has a 52-week range of $2.45 to $17.25.
It is very routine for companies to chase each other with prices and other service offerings. It is a new realm of economics when companies are mirroring how long they can or will be closed for operations due to a pandemic.
If major companies get together to talk about industry pricing, it could be considered price-fixing or collusion. What economic term would be used if companies were getting together to discuss when to reopen for business after a major global event?
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