Norwegian Cruise Lines Drops Masking, Vax and Testing Requirements

Two top cruise lines charted opposite courses on Monday, with Norwegian Cruise Line (US:NCLH) rising 0.4% after news it removed all COVID-19 testing, masking and vaccination requirements effective Oct. 4, 2022, which it said are now better aligned with peers’ policies. Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Lines (US:CCL) slipped more than 2%  as it continues to seek traction off recent three-decade lows.

“Health and safety are always our priority; in fact, we were the health and safety leaders from the very start of the pandemic,” said Harry Sommer, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. “Many travelers have been patiently waiting to take their long-awaited vacation at sea, and we cannot wait to celebrate their return.”

The company said it would continue to follow the travel guidelines required by the destinations it visits.

Regarding Carnival, “Not all cruise operators are created equally,” Steven Wieczynski, a Stifel analyst, wrote in a research report last week.

Carnival on Friday posted a wider than expected loss for its fiscal third quarter and said fourth-quarter bookings fell below historical levels and that pricing is below 2019 levels.

Carnival stock lost 2.5%, or 18 cents, to $6.85. The shares fell 23% on Friday, its worst loss in over two years. It closed at $7.03, the lowest since Oct. 1992.

Wieczynski wrote, “Carnival’s current pricing ‘issues’ are company specific and mostly tied to their overexposure to Europe where currency, COVID-19, and a softer economy are impacting close-in bookings.”

Norweigan is not similarly afflicted, the analyst said and favored Norwegian in the current environment given its more North American-based exposure.

The shares were among the most actively traded on Monday’s New York Stock Exchange session.

While Carnival’s stock fell, Norwegian Cruise Line’s shares rose 0.4%.

This article originally appeared on Fintel

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