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From China's Black Monday to RCL cracking $100/share, a notable year for cruise stocks

RCL - topped $100 milestone on Oct. 27 and hit 52-week high of $103.40 on Dec. 30
Cruise shares sagged a bit during the last trading session of 2015, along with the market in general. But it's been a mostly bullish year, particularly for Royal Caribbean, which broke $100—a first for any cruise stock.

2015's final day sell-off Thursday sent the Standard & Poor's 500 Index into its first yearly drop since 2011, with technology stocks leading the decline, according to Bloomberg.

Royal Caribbean ended the year at $101.21, down $1.52, after hitting a 52-week high of $103.40 on Wednesday. RCL had first topped the $100 milestone in trading on Oct. 27. The stock's low this year was $65.91.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings wrapped 2015 at $58.60, down 91 cents. This year the stock traded as high as $64.27, on Nov. 2. Its low was $42.55.

NCLH became part of the NASDAQ-100 Index on Dec. 21, with ceo Frank Del Rio calling it 'a testament to the extraordinary progress Norwegian has made in the three years since its initial public offering.' The Index is made up of the 100 largest non-financial stocks on the NASDAQ Stock Market, based on market capitalization.

Carnival closed 2015 at $54.48, off 56 cents, following its 52-week high of $55.77 on Wednesday. CCL has traded as low as $42.51 in the past year.

In other memorable stock matters during 2015, Royal Caribbean filed to voluntarily delist its shares from the Oslo Stock Exchange, a move that followed overwhelming shareholder approval. RCL said the benefits of maintaining a secondary listing were outweighed by the additional costs and regulatory requirements.

In its delisting application in late September, Royal Caribbean indicated it would keep the OSE listing for at least three months to minimize inconvenience to impacted shareholders.

RCL will revert to a single listing on the New York Stock Exchange, its primary listing since the company first offered shares to the public in 1993.

Shares of Steiner Leisure Ltd., the leading provider of spa and salon services to the cruise industry, ceased trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market Dec. 9. This followed Steiner's acquisition by private equity firm Catterton, whose affiliates bought all the outstanding STNR shares for $925m, and assumed the company's debt.

In another 2015 event, shares of Lindblad Expeditions began trading on the NASDAQ in July. The venerable expedition cruise operator went public by merging with Capitol Acquisition Corp. II, a public investment vehicle, and became Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, trading under the LIND symbol.

The cruise industry's growing, albeit still limited, exposure to China was felt during the year.

The market meltdown of Aug. 24, dubbed China's Black Monday, triggered sell-offs around the world. In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 1,000 points just after the opening bell in its most dramatic intraday trading ever, according to Reuters. Then the Dow recovered most of those losses before dropping again nearly 600 points to close at 15,871.

Cruise shares went along for the wild ride, falling sharply then bouncing back and eventually settling lower.