Top Cruise Line Stocks for Q2 2022

LIND is top for value and growth and RCL is top for performance

The cruise line industry is part of the broader travel and tourism industry, focused primarily on providing sea-based vacation experiences. Companies in the industry own and operate cruise ships in various destinations worldwide, offering a variety of itineraries and themed cruises. They also may provide other travel and vacation services. The big cruise line companies include Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

The cruise line industry has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, related travel restrictions, and other social-distancing measures. At the end of December, the fast-spreading Omicron variant prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to raise its travel warning for cruise ships to its highest level. Some companies canceled selected cruises in January due to the spread of Omicron. The CDC lowered its risk advisory for cruise sailing from "very high" to "high" in February and has just recently lowered it again to "moderate".

All pure-play cruise line stocks available to U.S. investors are underperforming the broader market, having provided total returns below the 4.5% total return of the Russell 1000 Index over the past 12 months. This market performance number and all statistics in the tables below are as of March 14, 2022. Below, we look at the top three cruise line stocks with the best value, fastest growth, and best performance.

There are just four pure-play cruise line companies easily available to U.S. investors, but we look at them in our usual style. Because the entire industry has suffered losses in the most recent quarter, the value section below will be based on price-to-sales ratio rather than the usual price-to-earnings ratio (P/E Ratio). Also, the growth rates in the growth section are abnormally high due to revenue in the most recent quarter being compared to extremely low baseline levels in the year-ago quarter. Even relatively small absolute value changes in revenue are thus represented as enormous percentage changes.

Best Value Cruise Line Stocks

These are the cruise line stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-sales (P/S) ratio. For companies in early stages of development or industries suffering from major shocks, this can be substituted as a rough measure of a business's value. A business with higher sales could eventually produce more profit when it achieves (or returns to) profitability. The price-to-sales ratio shows how much you're paying for the stock for each dollar of sales generated.

Best Value Cruise Line Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/S Ratio
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. (LIND) 11.27 0.6 3.8
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) 17.06 7.1 9.6
Carnival Corp. (CCL) 17.12 20.1 10.1

Source: YCharts

  • Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc.: Lindblad Expeditions owns and operates cruise ships and provides expedition cruising and travel services. The company offers both sea-based and land-based expeditions. Lindblad announced in late February financial results for Q4 of its 2021 fiscal year (FY), the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2021. The company's net loss narrowed to $26.3 million from $30.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue soared, up nearly 179 times off of the year-ago quarter's pandemic-depressed level. Lindblad said that the majority of its fleet had returned to operations with nine out of ten of its ships providing expeditions in various regions throughout the world.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.: Norwegian Cruise Line operates a fleet of passenger cruise ships. The company offers itineraries and theme cruises. Norwegian Cruise Line announced in late February financial results for Q4 FY 2021, which ended Dec. 31, 2021. The company's net loss widened to $1.6 billion from $707 million in the year-ago quarter despite revenue increasing nearly 51 times. The cruise operator said that the spread of the Omicron variant prompted it to cancel certain voyages in the fourth quarter of FY 2021 and in the first quarter of FY 2022 as well as postpone the restart of some its cruises. It added that it had approximately 70-75% of its capacity operating by the end of 2021.
  • Carnival Corp.: Carnival operates the world’s largest fleet of cruise ships. The company also owns travel-related properties such as hotels and vacation destinations throughout the world. Carnival announced in December financial results for Q4 FY 2021, which ended Nov. 30, 2021. The company's net loss widened to $2.6 billion from $2.2 billion in the year-ago quarter. Revenue increased nearly 38-fold compared to the year-ago quarter. Carnival said that 61% of its capacity was operating as of Nov. 30 and it expects its full fleet to be back in operation in the spring of 2022.

Fastest Growing Cruise Line Stocks

These are the cruise line stocks with the highest year-over-year (YOY) sales growth for the most recent quarter. Rising sales can help investors to identify companies that are able to grow revenue organically or through other means and to find growing companies that have not yet reached profitability. In addition, accounting factors that may not reflect the overall strength of the business can significantly influence earnings per share (EPS). However, sales growth can also prove potentially misleading about the strength of a business because growing sales on money-losing businesses can be harmful if the company has no plan to reach profitability.

Fastest Growing Cruise Line Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) Sales Growth (%)
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. (LIND) 11.27 0.6 17,860
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) 17.06 7.1 4,990
Carnival Corp. (CCL) 17.12 20.1 3,800

Source: YCharts

  • Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc.: See above for company description.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.: See above for company description.
  • Carnival Corp.: See above for company description.

Cruise Line Stocks With the Best Performance

These are the cruise line stocks that had the smallest declines in total return over the past 12 months out of the companies we looked at.

Cruise Line Stocks With the Best Performance
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) 68.12 17.4 -24.5
Carnival Corp. (CCL) 17.12 20.1 -39.9
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) 17.06 7.1 -44.5
Russell 1000 N/A N/A 4.5

Source: YCharts

  • Royal Caribbean Group: Royal Caribbean Group, formerly known as Royal Caribbean Cruises, operates a fleet of vessels in the cruise vacation industry. The company announced in early February financial results for Q4 FY 2021, which ended Dec. 31, 2021. The company reported a net loss of $1.4 billion, only slightly narrower than the net loss reported in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose nearly 29-fold compared to the year-ago quarter. Royal Caribbean said that the spread of Omicron prompted it to cancel several cruises in Q1 FY 2022 but that it still expects to have approximately 95% of its capacity in operation in the first quarter.
  • Carnival Corp.: See above for company description.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.: See above for company description.

The comments, opinions, and analyses expressed herein are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or to adopt any investment strategy. Though we believe the information provided herein is reliable, we do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. The views and strategies described in our content may not be suitable for all investors. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, all comments, opinions, and analyses contained within our content are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment, or strategy.

Article Sources

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know." Accessed Jan. 9, 2022.

  2. The Wall Street Journal. "CDC Tells Americans to Avoid Cruise Ships." Accessed Jan. 9, 2022.

  3. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. "Travelers' Health: COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel."

  4. The Wall Street Journal. "Carnival and Norwegian Cruises Go Masks-Optional for Most."

  5. YCharts. "Financial Data." Accessed Jan. 7, 2022.

  6. Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. "Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. Reports 2021 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results."

  7. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Financial Results and Provides Business Update," Page 12.

  8. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Financial Results and Provides Business Update," Page 1.

  9. Carnival Corp. & PLC. "CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC PROVIDES FOURTH QUARTER 2021 BUSINESS UPDATE," Page 9.

  10. Carnival Corp. & PLC. "CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC PROVIDES FOURTH QUARTER 2021 BUSINESS UPDATE," Page 1.

  11. Royal Caribbean Group. "ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP REPORTS ON 2021 RESULTS, PROVIDES BUSINESS UPDATE."

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