Carnival Cruise Extends Voyage Suspension Through End of May

Carnival Cruise says it has not determined a return date for cruising operations.
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Carnival Cruise Line  (CCL) - Get Report said Wednesday that it was extending its suspension of U.S. cruises through the end of May as the cruise operator continues to struggle through the headwinds of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Miami company said in a statement that it had not determined a return date for cruising operations. 

"We continue to work on plans to resume operations and are encouraged by the focus to expedite vaccine production and distribution which are having a demonstrated impact on improving public health," President Christine Duffy said.

"We appreciate the support of all of our guests, employees and trade partners who we know are looking forward to our return."

Carnival said it is offering customers on canceled cruises the choice of a future cruise credit plus onboard credit package, or a full refund.

Shares of the company at last check were up 3.2% to $27.31. 

Shares of rival cruise ship companies Royal Caribbean (RCL) - Get Report and Norwegian Cruise (NCLH) - Get Report were 5.1% and 7.6% higher respectively.

In January, Carnival said it was extending its suspension of U.S. cruises through April 30, and canceling Australian operations through May 19, amid the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. 

A short time later, the cruise giant said it was delaying voyages on three cruise ships until November.

Norwegian, which is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, said last week that it was extending its suspension of voyages through the end of May.

On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean reported a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and a narrower-than-estimated adjusted loss.

Nearly all Royal Caribbean cruises have been shuttered since last March, when the COVID pandemic broke out.

On Thursday, Credit Suisse raised its price target on Royal Caribbean to $117 from $76. Analyst Benjamin Chaiken affirmed an outperform rating on the shares.

JPMorgan analyst Brandt Montour raised the firm's price target on Royal Caribbean to $100 from $91 while keeping an overweight rating, saying a broad leisure travel recovery is "still to come."

Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Woronka raised the firm's price target on Royal Caribbean to $79 from $62 while keeping a hold rating on the shares. 

Woronka said he would not be surprised to see momentum in Royal Caribbean shares continue in the near term. But he said, "[Be] wary of rising sell-side expectations."