The good news is, it’s getting cheaper to take a cruise again. 

Bad news is, it is anyone’s guess how long you’ll have before you can set sail - October, at the earliest. 

The cruise business has been effectively shuttered since March, and the latest delay in re-opening means that businesses on the high seas can’t welcome consumers for a full 6-month timeframe on board - but they can still accept passenger cash for bookings.

From the looks of it, people are less excited to put down their hard-earned money for trips that may or may not be happening. While Carnival ($CCL) is happy to book your trip, it may be seeing demand slide a bit. 

Our first chart tracks the last 6 months of cruise prices on Carnival, counting a dip of more than 10% in some rooms’ prices in early April, and tracking increases in pricing as high as 7% greater than what it was charging in January, earlier this month, when optimism abounded that ships would soon set sail. That optimism, seems to have faded - and more recently, several of Carnival's pricing options have slipped into negative territory in a six-month timeline, a sign that demand could also be poor right now. As of right now - according to Carnival's website - the company is still hoping to set sail in October. 

Even then, one CDC official says Carnival should hold off on taking consumers’ money until it has a better idea when its ships will be safe to sail the seas again. 

“It is astonishing and it’s heartbreaking,” Dr. Martin Cetron, director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the CDC, in a recent interview with travel publication Skift. 

The pandemic hit as US markets were rallying toward all-time highs - and, based on Carnival’s hiring patterns, the company was enjoying the bull market’s impact. However, the onset of the pandemic ground the company’s business to a halt overnight.

All of this, however, is not stopping Carnival from turning into a crowded trade. 

Shares of Carnival plunged in the earliest days of the pandemic - but after optimism surfaced in June that the business would soon set sail, the stock rose - only to plummet again as the realities of the pandemic became increasingly apparent. For this year, Carnival stock is down a whopping 70%, with little visibility in the way of when it can set sail again - or, how quickly it will take for ships to be fully loaded with passengers, for that matter. 

Other cruise lines took the precautionary measure of delaying reopening until December 2020 - and until there is any containment of the pandemic, it is unclear when cruises (or hiring) will rebound again.  

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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