Carnival Stock Will Cruise Back to Its Pre-Pandemic Levels

As the world’s biggest cruise operator, Carnival (NYSE:CCL) is known as an industry leader. Consequently, CCL stock can be used as a benchmark to see how the U.S. cruise-line market is doing overall.

Carnival (CCL) cruise ship on water in front of beach with chairs

Source: Flickr

We’ll delve into the stock’s price action, but the Covid-19 pandemic certainly shipwrecked Carnival, and it’s been a real struggle to get the company and the stock back on their routes.

The emergence of the delta variant of Covid-19 certainly hasn’t made the recovery any smoother. Indeed, this unfortunate development could be the reason why CCL stock still hasn’t reclaimed the $50 level that it had reached before the pandemic.

Some folks might wonder whether the stock can fully recover. Still, while the new normal certainly won’t look like the old normal, there are reasons to hope that Carnival can return to its glory days.

A Closer Look at CCL Stock

Depending on how ambitious and optimistic we are, it’s possible to set a couple of different price objectives for CCL stock.

The most obvious one would be $50, the share price that it had reached in mid-January of 2020. Those were good times, weren’t they?

At the end of May 2021, it felt like CCL stock would reach that target soon as it hovered near $30.

Then investors started to (understandably) worry about new Covid-19 variants. As a result, a bull market in Carnival’s shares was off the table.

Yesterday CCL stock closed slightly above $23. That, of course, isn’t even halfway to the $50 level.

But then, is that necessarily a bad thing? Maybe it’s an opportunity for investors to add shares now, in the hopes of doubling their money.

Possibly, they could even do better than that. After all, CCL stock was riding high at $70 in early 2018. It might get there again. That won’t happen tomorrow or next week, but it will occur eventually.

Finally Setting Sail

We can talk about stock prices all day long, but Carnival won’t do very well unless its cruise ships are sailing.

Thankfully, the lengthy wait is finally over for cruise fanatics in selected regions.

For instance, just recently Carnival announced that its Carnival Pride ship was setting sail from the Port of Baltimore . Carnival Pride became the first cruise ship  to set out with passengers from Baltimore since the industry-wide pause of operations.

It certainly would have been nice to ride on the Carnival Pride as it sailed towards the Bahamas, stopping along the way at Nassau, Freeport and the private island of Half Moon Cay.

Understandably, Carnival President Christine Duffy declared that she was “thrilled to be back in Baltimore.”

Meanwhile, one of Carnival’s subsidiaries, P&O Cruises, celebrated its return to the Caribbean with a series of 14-night Caribbean fly/cruise holidays aboard its Brittania ship. It also started offering 14-night holidays aboard the Azura.

A Round of Re-starts

While the cruises that have recently launched are encouraging, it’s also nice to know that Carnival is preparing for a busier future.

To that end, the company just revealed critical details concerning additional cruise resumptions in November 2021 and beyond.

These include:

  • Carnival Valor starting in New Orleans on Nov. 1
  • Carnival Legend re-starting on Nov. 14 out of Baltimore
  • Carnival Pride‘s new service from Tampa will start on Nov. 14
  • Carnival Radiance is slated to embark on its maiden voyage on Dec. 13 out of Long Beach, Calif.
  • Carnival Conquest will resume cruising from Miami on Dec. 13
  • Carnival Sensation is slated to resume sailing from Mobile, Alabama in  January

Duffy expects her company’s re-start to “grow to 15 ships sailing from seven U.S. homeports by mid-November.”

The Bottom Line

Like Carnival itself, CCL stock will continue to face a slew of challenges.

Yet recent notes on the shares by analysts suggest that the company is, slowly but surely, regaining its footing.

So even persistent Covid-19 variant strains won’t necessarily stop Carnival’s progress.

Patience truly is the key, both for Carnival’s customers and for its investors.

On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.


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