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Cruise Stocks Rise as FDA Fully Clears Pfizer-BioNTech COVID Vaccine

Shares of cruise operators Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean rise after the FDA fully clears the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine.

Shares of cruise-ship operators rose on Monday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full clearance to the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report.

The full authorization for the vaccine, for people 16 and older, follows the FDA's move late last year to enable the New York health-care giant and its German partner to market the vaccine for emergency use.

Among the cruise operators, at last check Carnival  (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report rose 3.7%, Norwegian Cruise Line  (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report rose 3.2% and Royal Caribbean  (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report rose 1.7%.

Shares of Pfizer gained 2.7% and BioNTech was up more than 10%.

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Cruise operators have said that passengers who have received their final dose of a coronavirus vaccine at least 14 days prior to sailing are eligible to travel.

Cruise lines were one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, with voyages stopped around the world. 

But with widespread vaccinations in the U.S., the major companies have planned to resume American operations over the summer.

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Of these three cruise companies, Royal Caribbean is the strongest, Jonathan Heller wrote in a Real Money column, last month. “There's little doubt in my mind that Royal Caribbean has come out of the pandemic in the best shape of the three,” he said.

But Heller said he remained cautious as the global pandemic continues to hinder leisure travel, and these companies have increased their debt loads and diluted their shares by offering more of them to investors.