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Cruise stocks rise after CDC says the industry can potentially resume full operations by mid-July

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Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras ship
Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras ship

  • Cruise-ship stocks soared Thursday after the CDC said the industry could resume operations potentially by mid-summer.
  • The agency on Wednesday said it is “committed” to reopening the industry in July, Reuters reported.
  • Shares of Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Carnival all traded higher during Thursday’s session.
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Cruise-ship stocks soared Thursday after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the cruise industry passenger operations could resume by mid-summer, in step with the broader economic reopening in the US and large swathes of the world.

Here are the intraday highs for major airline stocks on Thursday a.m. ET:

Norwegian Cruise Lines: up 6.61% to $32.24

Carnival Corp: up 4.66% to $29.09

Royal Caribbean Group: up 5.28% to $92.01

The agency on Wednesday said it is “committed” to the resume operations, USA Today first reported. The go-signal came after Alaska joined Florida’s April 8 suit last week in a bid to overturn a decision made by the CDC that barred the industry from resuming operations after being halted for a year to stem the spread of the virus.

If a ship can attest 98% of its crew and 95% of its passengers are fully vaccinated, then it may skip simulated voyages and move directly to open water sailing, the agency told cruise-industry leaders in a letter viewed by USA Today.

“We acknowledge that cruising will never be a zero-risk activity and that the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard cruise ships and across port communities,” Aimee Treffiletti, head of the Maritime Unit for CDC’s COVID-19 response within its Global Mitigation Task Force for COVID-19, said in the letter.

The agency added it will respond to applications for simulated voyages within five days, much faster than the initial anticipated 60 days.CDC also said it will adjust testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew who are fully vaccinated.

“We’re really very pleased and very excited because it really does support the pathway that we think is achievable, practical, and safe,” Richard Fain, CEO at Royal Caribbean, told CNBC Thursday. “So, yeah, we’re feeling pretty good.”

Separately, Norwegian Cruise, the smaller of the three lines, on Wednesday announced it will restart operations outside of the US later this year in parts of the Caribbean and Europe.

Cruise-ship companies were among the industries most impacted when the economy shut down during the pandemic, though they are among the biggest beneficiaries of what analysts are referring to as the re-opening trade.