Cruise Lines Can’t Duck Their Debt

Cruise ships, it seems, are like ducks—elegant and effortless above the water, fighting like crazy to stay afloat beneath.

On the surface, the industry is finally steaming ahead after over a year at bay: The world has reopened, occupancy limits have relaxed and bookings are at or above prepandemic levels. Carnival Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings are all eyeing a near-term return to profitability this year—a milestone they are hoping will reignite investor interest, with their shares down an average of over 45% over the past six months.