Cruise line Operators and the Cruise Ships
This is a pretty good list of current Cruise line Operators and the Cruise Ships they own or operate. The cruiseline business is incestuous. Many ships operate or have operated under many names, many ships are owned by one company and subleased or operated by two companies. Sometimes it can be confusing. Elite Cruises and Travel makes your traveling a breeze and can recommend a cruise for you.
Contact Us to book any of the ships or cruise lines listed at 877-294-4053
If you would like us to locate a ship on which you have cruised in the past, so you may once again cruise on it, let us know. Many ships have had many names. We have grouped together divisions of some of the largest operators such as Carnival Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
Given the current worldwide cruise situation, this list may not be current. The industry is in constant flux and several lines have either gone out of business or are in the process of selling or scrapping ships. Feel free to contact us for specific information.
Mass-market lines offer good product at affordable prices. Fares range from $50-300 (Inside-Suite) pp per day. Itineraries range from 3 to 10 days. Typical passengers are a mix of veterans and first-timers, many kids and couples in their 50s. Ships are large-sized (over 3000 passengers), providing large resort-like experience. Examples include Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, MSC, Costa, Holland America, AIDA, TUI.
More expensive mass-market fares range from $200-500 pp per day. Itineraries range from 3 to 17 days. Typical passengers are predominantly first-timers, singles, families, kids. Ships are smaller and older, usually serving regional markets. Examples include NCL Norwegian, Disney, Celebrity, Princess, Star Cruises, Marella, P&O, Pullmantur, Phoenix Reisen, Fred Olsen, CMV (Cruise and Maritime Voyages), Bahamas Paradise.
LUXURY brands are Viking Ocean, Dream Cruises, Cunard, Oceania, Hapag-Lloyd, Ponant, Saga. Services are premium (including 24-hour highly personalized concierge), prices are affordable, ships are new (refurbished more often), but the product is not all-inclusive.
Ultra Luxury or ALL-INCLUSIVE brands are Seabourn, Silversea, RSSC-Regent, Azamara, Crystal, Virgin Voyages, NYV-Norwegian Yacht Voyages, Ritz-Carlton Yachts, SeaDream Yachts. Onboard product is the industry’s best and includes 24-hour personal butler service, all beverages, specialty dining, Internet, shore excursions, gratuities, flights, transfers, sophisticated enrichment programs (world-class performers, professional lectures and classes, art auctions), fewer mega-ship seaports, more yachting destinations. Vessels are mid-sized (mega-yachts) with a capacity between 200-1000 passengers, industry’s highest ratios (passenger-to-space and passenger-to-staff), usually without kids facilities (babysitting arranged with off-duty staff). Passengers are sophisticated, highly social, wealthy, adventurous. Itineraries are diverse and global. Most mega-yachts provide alternative private ship-charter deals to large corporations and the world’s richest families. Smallest ships are yachts with capacity from 100 up to 300 passengers. Some accommodate up to 700-800 guests. Most luxury ships operate in Europe (Mediterranean), Asia, Oceania, Alaska, Galapagos Islands, Around South America, Around the World.
EXPEDITION or soft adventure brands operate nature-themed voyages to unusual destinations (Arctic, Antarctica, Galapagos, Indian Ocean islands, Alaska). Prices depend on itinerary (fares from $150-500+ pp per day. Itineraries range from 1-3 weeks. Passengers are older and more experienced. Ships are usually with ice-strengthened hull (also icebreakers), marina platform (watersports) and Zodiacs (large boats for landings). Examples include Windstar, Lindblad-National Geographic, Quark Expeditions, Uncruise Adventures, Star Clippers, Metropolitan Touring.
RIVER lines operate modern riverboats on inland waterways (lakes, rivers, and canals), mainly in Europe and USA-Canada, also in Russia, China, Egypt, Peruvian Amazon. Fares range from $250-450 pp per day. Itineraries are 1-2 weeks. Passengers are regular and loyal. Most boats accommodate between 90-200 passengers (over 300 on Russian ships). Shipboard amenities and services are of premium quality. Market’s largest are Viking, Uniworld, CroisiEurope, AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Scenic, Scylla, Luftner, American Cruise Lines, Russia lines (Vodohod, Mosturflot, Infoflot, Doninturflot-Orthodox).
Carnival Cruise Line (1972, British-American, Doral-Miami FL, trademarked “The FUN Ships”)
owned by Carnival Corporation
world’s largest and cheapest cruise line, the concept of cheap short cruise deals
built world’s first super-large passenger ship (Carnival Destiny / Sunshine, in 1996 / exceeding for the first time 100,000 GT tons)
Celebrity Cruises (1988 as “Chandris Fantasy Cruises”, Miami FL) owned by RCCL Royal Caribbean
P&O Cruises (since 1837, Southampton, UK)
P&O Cruises Australia (North Sydney, New South Wales)
Carnival Corporation British-American
P&O UK – large-sized / newer liners operating roundtrips from the UK and in Caribbean (from Barbados)
P&O Australia – big-sized liners in Australia New Zealand
Costa Cruises /Costa Crociere SpA (1924 as a cargo carrier, Genoa, Italy) owned by Carnival Corporation
provides passenger shipping services since 1947
a major brand of Carnival Corporation & plc (since 2000)
Europe’s largest line, with Italy-flagged ships (average tonnage 80,000 GT)
Cunard Line (since 1840, British-American, headquarters in Southampton UK, and Santa Clarita CA) owned by Carnival Corporation
established as “British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company”
operates large-sized and luxury ocean cruise liners from the UK, including the only one contemporary regular Transatlantic liner RMS Queen Mary 2 Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
Disney Cruise Line (1998, Celebration FL) The Walt Disney Company
world’s BEST KIDS cruise line has 4 ocean-going vessels (average tonnage 100,000, average capacity of 3,200 passengers) belongs to The Walt Disney Company – with the world’s most famous fantasy characters and themed entertainment.
Holland America Line (since 1873 as “Netherlands-America Steamship Company”, Seattle WA)
owned by Carnival Corporation
operates medium-sized liners, serving over 800,000 passengers a year owned by Carnival Corp since 1989
started operation in 1872 as a Transatlantic cargo-passenger shipping line, mainly between Rotterdam and New York (also to South America) its first sea vacation voyage was offered in 1895
HAL owns “Westmark” hotels (Alaska-Yukon), “Worldwide Shore Services” (warehouse-logistics), and a private island in the Bahamas (Little San Salvador, best known as Half Moon Cay).
MSC Cruises / MSC Crociere SA (since 1987 as “Lauro Lines”, headquarters Geneva, Switzerland)
MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company/world’s 2nd largest)
large-sized and cheap ships
ranked the world’s 4th largest
sub-division of MSC Shipping (Mediterranean Shipping Company SA) since 1989
NCL Norwegian Cruise Line (1966, Miami-Dade County, FL)
NCLH Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
operates large vessels
ranked world’s 3rd largest (8% of the market)
inventor of the “Freestyle Cruising” idea (open seating informal dining)
owner of the first cruise line private island (1977) – Great Stirrup Cay
equally owned (50/50) by Apollo Management and Star Cruises (Genting Group)
NCLH also owns the Hawaii-based cruise ship Pride of America.
Princess Cruises (1965, British-American, Santa Clarita CA)
operates large-sized liners
a former subsidiary of “P&O Princess Cruises PLC”
RCI Royal Caribbean International (1968, Norwegian-American, Miami FL)
RCCL Royal Caribbean
world’s largest passenger ships, 2nd largest (after Carnival)
innovated the coastal property leasing with Labadee (an exclusive resort in northern Haiti)
“Alaskan land and sea tours” (glass-domed train cars)
feature shipboard facilities – rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, Flowrider (surf simulator), “Viking Crown” (top-deck lounge)
Owns the Bahamian island CocoCay / Little Stirrup Cay
company’s name after the merge with Celebrity was “Royal Caribbean Cruise Line”
AIDA Cruises / AIDA Kreuzfahrten (1960 as Deutsche Seereederei)
large liners, serves exclusively the German-speaking market, mostly younger clientele
Pullmantur Cruises (2007, Norwegian-American)
RCCL Royal Caribbean
Spanish brand with medium-sized ships
Marella Cruises / formerly Thomson Cruises (est. 1995, renamed in 2017)
RCCL Royal Caribbean and TUI AG
owned by TUI AG (a subsidiary of TUI Travel PLC) and RCCL
operated by Thomson Holidays (1965, Luton UK)
provides affordable deals on UK roundtrips
TUI Cruises (2007, Hamburg Germany) RCCL Royal Caribbean and TUI AG
large liners to the Caribbean, Europe (Baltic, Med, Canaries)
serves exclusively the German-speaking market
owned by RCCL and TUI AG
Star Cruises (established 1993)
Genting Group (Malaysia)
budget travel brand with over 35,000 berths
leader on the Asia-Pacific market
subsidiary of GHK
fully owns “Cruise Feries” (Wasa Queen ship, 1-night gambling cruises from Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur) and 50% of NCL (a subsidiary of Genting Group, Malaysia)
CMV Cruise and Maritime Voyages (2009, Dartford UK)
serves mainly the UK market with adults-only ships
Azamara Cruises (since 2007)
RCCL Royal Caribbean
premium ships with affordable all-inclusive deals
CDP Compagnie du Ponant (1988, Marseille, France)
Groupe Artemis (Financiere Pinault)
Before 2015 was owned by Bridgepoint Capital (European private equity fund). Serves mainly the French-speaking market
Oceania Cruises (2002, Miami FL) NCLH Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
operates top luxury passenger ships (3 medium, and 2 large) – the largest luxury cruise line in the world (with some of the cheapest cruise rates). Fully owned by Apollo Management (“Premier Cruises”), sold to NCL in 2014.
Crystal Cruises (1988, Century City LA)
Genting Group (Malaysia)
world’s most expensive cruise line
operates large-sized, top-luxury ships with all-inclusive (capacity about 1,000 passengers)
subsidiary of GHK
has separate brand divisions for cruises on riverboats, ocean ships, yachts, and airplanes
Dream Cruises (established 2016)
Genting Group (Malaysia) subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong
luxury travel brand with newbuilds
RSSC Regent Seven Seas Cruises (1990, Miami FL)
NCLH Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
formerly “Radisson Seven Seas Cruises”
owned by “Premier Cruises” / Appolo Menagement since 2008
sold to NCLH in 2014
“the most all-inclusive” deals – alcohol, shore excursions, tips
smaller ships “all-suite, all-balcony”
first Canyon Ranch Spa at sea
Seabourn (1986, Miami FL)
Operates smaller all-suite ships with all-inclusive deals. Some of the largest Spas at sea, up to 4 alternative dining venues
Silversea (1994, Ft Lauderdale FL)
RCCL Royal Caribbean
all-inclusive ships (including 3 expedition ships)
“Personalized Voyages” concept (guests choose their own embarkation/disembarkation ports, with a min of 5 nights, all-suite accommodations)
Until 2018 owned by Lefebvre family (Rome, Italy) and V-Ships (Vlasov Group) of Monaco
Virgin Voyages (established 2017, headquartered in Crawley /Sussex, England)
a subsidiary of Virgin Holidays Ltd (travel brand owned by Virgin Group)
Virgin Group is a UK-based venture-capital company run by Richard Branson.
Virgin Holidays Cruises (est. 2000 under the name “Fast Track Holidays”) was acquired in 2007. Its name was changed to “Virgin Holidays Cruises” in 2009.
This UK cruise line company owns 3 vessels (every 110,000 GT-tons, capacity 2860 passengers plus 1150 crew)
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection (founded 2017, based in Miami FL)
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
3 mega-yachts, each with capacity 298 passengers accommodated in 149 balcony suites
Itineraries are in Europe, Canada New England, Caribbean, South Pacific
Windstar (1984, Tall-Sailing ship cruise company)
Xanterra Parks and Resorts
tall-sailing ships and small ships
operates in the Mediterranean (summer) and Caribbean and Pacific (winter)
owned by Xanterra since May 2011
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (since 1970, Hamburg, Germany)
Hapag-Lloyd AG (world’s 5th largest container shipping company)
smaller luxury ships (including newbuilds
has worlds most expensive cruise ship (MS Europa)
1998-2017 was owned by TUI AG
HAPAG (“Hamburg American Line”) was founded in 1912 as Transatlantic cargo-passenger ship line
LLOYD (“North German Lloyd”, or NGL) was formed in 1856 as Bremen-New York cargo and passenger line
Fred Olsen Cruise Line (since 1848, Ipswich, Suffolk UK)
Fred Olsen Group
Norwegian company with 4 smaller ships
operates from England (Caribbean fly-cruises from Barbados during winter), around South America, World Voyages
brand of Fred Olsen Group (luxury hotels, real estates, property development, aviation, crewing and building ships)
Hurtigruten (since 1893)
cruise ferries and cruise ships
passenger cruise and freight ferry line
operates 10-night roundtrips in Norway (referred to as “World’s Most Beautiful Sea Voyage”), also to Antarctica, Greenland, around South America
Hurtigruten ships depart from 38 ports in Norway alone
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line (2008, Riviera Beach FL)
2-day Bahamas cruises from Florida (Port Palm Beach)
the successor of “Imperial Majesty Cruise Line”
Saga Cruises /SAGA Holidays (est. 1996, Canterbury, England)
Serves exclusively the UK market. Has newbuild expedition ships.
SMALL Cruise Lines
Birka Cruises (1971, Mariehamn, Aland/Finland) operates one ship (MS Birka Stockholm) for the Baltic Sea departing from Stockholm. This line has a cargo-shipping subsidiary, and today Birka Line is part of the Rederiaktiebolaget Eckero’ “Eckero Line” (Finnish shipping company, ferries to Sweden from Aland Islands). Birka Stockholm
Blue Lagoon Cruises (Australia) – 2 ships for Fiji Cruises roundtrip from Denarau Fiji Princess
Captain Cook Cruises (Western Australia) – 1 cruise ship (Murray Princess) for Murray River, Great Barrier Reef, Fiji, Swan River (Perth), land tours, ferry services. The company was acquired in 2016 by SeaLink Travel Group.
Operates private charters and Sydney Harbour cruises on smaller ships.
Murray Princess smaller yachts
Coral Expeditions (until 2015 known as “Coral Princess Cruises” /est. 1984) is a small ship line operating large catamarans. The ships (capacity 44-72 pax) operate on itineraries to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific Ocean islands. The list of destinations includes Tasmania, New Guinea, Kimberley, Arnhem Land, Great Barrier Reef, Cape York.
Coral Expeditions 1
Coral Expeditions 2
Star Clippers (luxury tall sailing ships) for the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Northern Europe, and Panama Canal/Transatlantic.
GAP Adventures (1990, Toronto, Canada) – the largest cruise company in Canada, with over 1,000 sea travel tours per year, to over 100 countries.
InnerSea Discoveries (founded 2011, renamed in 2013 to UnCruise Adventures) – Seattle expedition line, sister-brand of ASC/American Safari Cruises (founded 1996). Destinations include Southeast Alaska and BC Canada, Columbia and Snake Rivers, Washington DC, Sea of Cortes, Hawaii.
Kristina Cruises (1985, family-owned, Kotka, Finland) – operates in the Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean, and the Black Sea.
Lindblad Expeditions (founded 1979 by Sven-Olof Lindblad, since 2004 the line has a joint fund and alliance with the National Geographic Society, and since 2007 all vessels are renamed with the prefix “National Geographic”)
a leader in adventure sea voyages
5 private and 6 chartered small ships, including riverboats (28-148 passengers)
the founder of eco-tourism
the best academic and enrichment programs at sea led by renown superb naturalists
operates in Galapagos, Arctic, Antarctica, Baja California, Central America, Peruvian Amazon, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Egypt, West Africa, New Zealand.
Celestyal Cruises (formerly Louis Cruises – Greek Islands and Holy Land cruises leaving from Greece and Turkey
headquarters in Limassol, Cyprus), a subsidiary of Louis plc (the leader of the East Mediterranean tourism industry) in 2014 was re-branded “Celestyal Cruises”
Celestyal operates mainly 2nd and 3rd hand charter vessels, often sub-chartered to other companies.
Black Sea Cruise Line (since 2017) is owned by Rosmorport (Russian Federation). Operates Black Sea cruises exclusively. Knyaz Vladimir
Metropolitan Touring – owns and operates all three Galapagos Islands luxury cruise yachts
Santa Cruz 2
Paul Gauguin Cruises (1998, Bellevue, WA, USA) – 1 small ship (ms Paul Gauguin) for Galapagos Islands, year-round.
Pearl Seas Cruises – operates in the regions of US Great Lakes, Canadian Maritimes, Caribbean Islands
Phoenix Reisen (1988, Germany) – operates chartered ships of smaller sizes, serves the German-speaking market exclusively
Polar Star Expeditions – 1 ship (converted icebreaker) in Artica and Antarctica. Polar Star
Quark Expeditions (1991) – luxury polar cruises, among its chartered ships is 50 Years of Victory (nuclear-powered icebreaker cruise ship).
ResidenSea (top luxury ship operator of privately-owned liners ms The World
Silja Line (est. 1957, Helsinki, Finland) – ferry-cruise company (car and passenger services between Sweden and Finland. capacity is over 3 mill passengers and 200,00 cars annually. ferries
The Boat Company (founded 1979 non-profit line and educational organization by McIntosh Foundation, in “Alaska Small”).
RIVER Cruise Lines
A-ROSA – 3 ships for Rhine, Danube & Rhone cruises.
AMAWaterways (2002 as Amadeus Waterways, 12 newly built river ships) – a top luxury river ship cruise company, operates Western Europe, Russia, and Asia (Mekong River), innovative river vessel designs and construction (balcony cruise accommodations, onboard pools, and Jacuzzis).
APT River Cruises /APT Touring (1970, a division of APT Group – an initialism for “Australian Pacific Touring”) – Europe and Russia, Egypt, South America, North America (Canada Alaska), South Pacific (Australia New Zealand), and Asia, also operates chartered ships.
American Cruise Lines (1991, Guilford CT) – 6 small ships (capacity 50-120 guests), including a renovated authentic paddle-wheeler. Operates the USA East and West coasts, and rivers.
American Queen Steamboat Company – Mississippi River cruises on paddle-wheel riverboats.
Avalon Waterways (2004, Lugano, Switzerland, 18 vessels, the majority of which are newly built, and after 2006 (including the industry’s first “suite boat”), with average capacity of 170 guests) – small ship and river cruise company, a brand of the Globus corporation, operating Europe (11 ships), Egypt (3), China (3), and the Galapagos islands (1 ship).
Crystal River Cruises (since 2017) – a division of Crystal Cruises, offers fully all-inclusive deals. Its product is marked by gourmet dining, expert enrichment, high-class entertainment, top-luxury amenities and impeccable service on newbuild European riverboats. In each port along the itinerary is offered culture-themed tours and excursions. In some ports, Crystal river ships offer overnight stays to allow passengers to enjoy high-end gourmet dining experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants (ashore) and also exclusive evening events and entertainment (on the boat).
CroisiEurope (1965 as Alsace-Croisieres, 4-star brand name, newly built vessels) – 26 top luxury river passenger ships in Europe exclusively, with capacity 100-180 guests.
Emerald Waterways (2014) – a Scenic Tours subsidiary for the European market. This new river cruise line starts with two riverboats (each with 182-passenger capacity) – “Emerald Star” and “Emerald Sky”, on 7- and 14-night itineraries. As a price niche, this line will compete on the less expensive “most popular rivers in Europe” cruising market with Viking and Avalon.
European Waterways (1977, Datchet, Berkshire UK) – operates in 9 European countries (including Ireland and Scotland), with 3 small riverboats and 18 luxury boutique-hotel barges (4-15 passengers).
Scenic River Cruises (established in 1987 in Australia by Glen Moroney) – among the most inclusive riverboat cruise lines today. The all-inclusive fares cover meals, drinks, excursions, gratuities. The deals feature price-included unlimited drinks – from the beverages in-cabin minibars to alcohol drinks at all onboard dining and lounge venues. Butler service on European voyages is also included.
Uniworld (1976, Los Angeles CA) – 21 luxury river ships (average capacity 130 passengers, shore tours and excursions are included), with over 500 itineraries annually in more than 20 countries (Europe, China, Russia, Egypt).
Viking River Cruises (1997, headquartered in Woodland Hills CA, and Basel, Switzerland) is the world’s largest river ship cruise company. It owns and operates around 70 luxury river ships with all-inclusive deals. The riverboats’ capacity ranges from 100 to 250 guests). Itineraries are offered on major rivers in Europe, Asia (China and Russia) and soon in the USA. The line also offers cheap fly-cruises from the UK, with complimentary, fully guided tours and excursions ashore. Since 2015, this line has a sister-company – run by the same corporate owners and named Viking Ocean (see in the table below).
Crucemundo (2008, headquartered in Barcelona Spain) currently operates under charter 5 riverboats and 1 yacht.
Pandaw Expeditions (renamed in 1998 from “Irrawaddy Flotilla Company” / 1865-1942) was the first large river cruise company in Southeast Asia. It is currently also the largest by (vessel number, not tonnage). Pandaw was the first Irrawaddy river cruise operator and now operates cruise tours also on the rivers Brahmaputra and Ganges (India). Pandaw ships have local industry’s highest guest-to-space ratios, passenger capacity between 36 and 56, comfortable public areas, premium staterooms (all outside, most with common terrace), traditional cuisine, well-trained staff, and crew.
Assam Bengal Navigation (ABN, founded 2002, headquarters Calcutta) is the first and currently the only company operating long-distance river cruises in India (Brahmaputra, Hughli, and Ganges rivers). The travel experience features wildlife viewing tours (elephant rides, jeeps), visiting temples, towns, and villages, tea gardens. Shore excursions are also via buses, cycle rickshaws and on foot. The company’s staff is highly trained and the crew has extensive knowledge and expertise in river conditions.
Mystic Cruises USA (2019-founded) subsidiary of Mystic Invest (Portugal)
The shipowner is the Ferreira family-owned Portuguese financial holding with brands mainly in the travel tourism and leisure industries.
The company has a 6-vessel , with 2 ships being chartered to Quark Expeditions and Nicko Cruises (brand of Mystic Invest). All ships operate on global itineraries. The company relies mainly on North American passenger sourcing with discounted fly-cruise deals.
TUI River Cruises (established in 2019, operational since 2020) is owned by TUI AG and operated via its subsidiary “TUI UK and Ireland”
TUI’s new river cruise brand targets predominantly the UK market with 3 riverboats (TUI Maya, TUI Skyla, TUI Isla). Each boat has capacity 155 pax plus 40 crew, length 135 m, 4 decks (3 with cabins).
CSSC Carnival China Cruise Shipping (founded 2015 October, headquartered in Hong Kong), starts operations in 2019
The Carnival-CSSC company has a budget of USD 4 billion for newbuilds and cruise port terminals over 10 years (2015-2025). The company is a joint venture between Carnival Corporation, CIC (China Investment Corporation) and CSSC (China State Shipbuilding Corporation). Most of CSSC Carnival is owned by the Chinese shareholders (60%), and the remainder by Carnival (40%). CSSC Carnival will build 2 new ships (133,50 tons each), with optional 4 more, with planned deliveries starting 2023. The shipbuilder is Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Company (a joint venture between shipyard owner CSSC and Fincantieri). The shipbuilding contract was signed in November 2018 (2-unit cost USD 1,5 billion).
CSSC Carnival starts operations in late 2019 with two existing Costa ships – Costa Atlantica (2210-passenger, since 2019) and Costa Mediterranea (2114-passenger, since 2020).
Zen Cruises (founded 2018 as a subsidiary of Essel Group) – President and CEO of Zen Cruises Pvt Ltd is Jurgen Bailom.
An India-based brand with 1 ship – MS Karnika (Pacific Jewel) purchased in 2018 from P&O Australia
Shipowner Essel Group (founded 1926, headquartered in Mumbai India) is a conglomerate of several corporations with business divisions news, media, technology, entertainment, packaging, infrastructure developments, financial services, precious metals (gold and silver refinery), education, charity.
Norwegian Yacht Voyages (established 2017, rebranded from “Nordic Cruise Company”)
Ultra-luxury / all-inclusive brand has 4 newbuild mega-yachts (polar expedition vessels with ice-strengthened hulls). Operations started in 2019.
Virgin Voyages (established 2017, Crawley /Sussex, England)
a subsidiary of Virgin Holidays Ltd (travel brand, owned by Virgin Group)
Virgin Group is an UK-based venture-capital company run by Richard Branson
Virgin Holidays Cruises (est. 2000 under the name “Fast Track Holidays”) was acquired in 2007
Its name was changed to “Virgin Holidays Cruises” in 2009
owns 3 large liners (each 110,000 GT-tons, capacity 2860 passengers plus 1150 crew)
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection (founded 2017, based in Miami FL)
3 mega-yachts with capacity 298 pax (149 balcony suites). Itineraries are in Europe, Canada New England, Caribbean, South Pacific
“French America Line” is a USA river cruise company launching service in August 2016.
Targets the premium river cruising market in the USA with the newly refurbished MS Louisiane paddle wheeler (150-passenger, fka Columbia Queen)
“Diamond Cruise” is a start-up Chinese company operating with departures out of Shanghai China. It started with 1 ship (Aegean Paradise). Intends to invest USD 2,1 billion in newbuilds by the year 2020
Anteros Cruises is an LGBT cruise line since 2017 with a 400-passenger ship. provides “luxury yacht-like experience” with unparalleled personalized service by highly trained personnel. Caribbean and Mediterranean itineraries range from 5 to 14 days, with homeports St Maarten, Colon, Barcelona, Piraeus-Athens
Abou Merhi Cruises is a Lebanese private / family-owned company and shipowner (since 2012) of Orient Queen. Started operations in 2018 with Eastern Mediterranean cruises (to Greek Islands) leaving roundtrip from Beirut (Lebanon). Has 1-ship (Orient Queen, ex Med Queen)
“Alteza Cruises” is a joint venture between the Argentina-based “Hotel Express Latam” and a Greek private investor. Started operations in November 2017. Offers seasonal 4- to 11-night roundtrips from Ushuaia to Antarctica, and to Atlantic South America ports from Buenos Aires. Alteza Cruises are all-inclusive (shore excursions included on longer voyages)
Dream Cruises (operational since November 2016) started with 2 newbuilds initially ordered for the sister-company Star Cruises owned by Genting Group
serves the premium Asian cruise market
Dream Cruises deals are priced higher than Star Cruises.
Itineraries are round-trip from China, with duration 2-, 5- and 7-nights.
“Royal Asian Cruises” (RAC) is a luxury cruise line based in Sri Lanka, with offices in India and the USA. The Thailand BOI company will invest in this venture around USD 200 mill. This includes the acquiring/operating of two ships in 2015 and 2016. The business focus is on India/Sri Lanka and the Europe/Southeast Asia markets.
The first vessel has capacity 800 passengers (launched in late-2015, homeported in Colombo Sri Lanka). The second vessel has capacity 1500-2000 passengers (launched in early-2016).
Both ships feature “Tillberg Design” interiors. The itineraries list will include 7-days Maldives and Cochin, India, 3-4-days mini-cruises around Sri Lanka, and 10-11-days roundtrip voyages from Sri Lanka to Singapore.
The RAC cruise company is planning to invest by the end of 2020 a total of USD 720 million.
“Sterling Cruise Lines” (established 2015, headquarters in Miami)
Targets the Latin American market, has 1 ship (Sterling Gemini). The itinerary program offers year-round Caribbean cruises leaving from Aruba
Viking Ocean Cruises (est. 2015 April) is a sister-line to Viking River Cruises (see in the above table). Both brand companies are owned by Torstein Hagan.
Viking Ocean started operations with all 4 newbuilds (by Fincantieri)
Along with the all-inclusive deals, Viking Ocean ships have many other features and amenities resembling their riverboat mates. Among those are alfresco lounge Aquavit, observation lounge Explorers, price-inclusive Wi-Fi, shore excursions, wines, and beers (at lunch and dinner).
Viking Ocean itineraries are in Europe, Asia, Caribbean, South Pacific, various one-way voyages are offered to ports in the Mediterranean and Baltic.
Blue World Voyages (established 2017) is a Miami-based wellness cruise line funded via Wefunder (crowdfunding platform). All investors become shareholders and members of Blue World Founders Club giving them perks, discounts and a voice in product developments. The new line is managed by Gene Meehan (chairman and founder), Fredy Dellis (co-founder) and John B Richards (CEO, former Starbucks president).
Before the company’s official launch (May 2019), all Club members were asked about itineraries selection, cabin design, facilities, services, and onboard menus. Signature ship facilities include industry’s largest Spa complex (as m2 per pax, with solarium, therapy tub, indoor-outdoor treatment rooms), 26 cabins (1- and 2-bedroom residences)
The company intends to refit an existing cruise ship with original capacity around 900 pax retrofitted down to 425 berths (225 cabins), allowing space for bigger staterooms, entire (dedicated) wellness deck, plus 26x one- and two-bedroom private residences available for purchase on the ship. Most cabins will be connecting, with French balconies, large bathrooms, walk-in closets. Of all the 225 staterooms, 25 are single. Two upper decks are with private residences. A full deck is dedicated to wellness, another full deck to sports-fitness.
Operations are planned to start in early-2021 with 7-day Mediterranean cruises.
Arctic Cruise Line (2018-founded, starting operations in 2021) is run by Gert Brask (CEO) – a private entrepreneur with experience in commercial fishing. The company’s current offices are in Greenland and Denmark. The new expedition cruise line will operate two 200-passenger vessels (polar-class new builds) with plans for a 5-ship .
Cruise Retirement (2019-founded) is the US (Miami) and Australia (Melbourne) based company offering long-term residential cruise shipping with a planned start in 2020. The company’s CEO is Dr. Marc Baron. Operations are planned to start in 2020 with the ship Enchanted Explorer (550-passengers plus 210 crew, vessel’s current name is unknown/TBA). Vessel’s USD 15-million drydock refurbishment (in Veracruz, Mexico) started in March 2019. The liner has buffet areas, a la carte restaurant, facilities for sporting activities (Spa, sauna, swimming pool), tours and land-based activities.
Style Cruise China (2019-founded) starts operations in 2022. The shipowner (Shanghai Style Cruise Industry Development Co Ltd) signed in May 2019 a shipbuilding deal with CMG (China Merchants Group) for the construction of two vessels. The newbuilds are with GT 37,000 tons, passenger capacity 534 and interior designed by Tillberg Design (Sweden).
Ocean Residences is a new brand with chief executives Kristian Stensby (President-CEO), Alain Gruber (operations CEO) and Patrick Webster (financial CEO). Ocean Residences (2020-founded) plans to start operations in 2024 with a single vessel (MS The Njord). “MS The Njord” is a newbuild (superyacht-like ship) with length 282 m, width 34 m and draught 8 m. The ship will have 118 apartments (in different cabin configurations – 2 to 6 bedrooms per cabin), 16 suites, single cabins (for the crew), Sun Deck (2 swimming pools, hot tubs), several outdoor terraces, 6 restaurants and bar lounges, cooking studio, outdoor cinema, supermarket, boutique shops, garden lounge, wellness complex (gym, spa, studio for exercises), sports court, golf simulator, billiards room, personalized concierge services, 2 helicopters, 2 mini-submarines, 10 Zodiac boats, 2 fishing boats, mudroom (expedition gear storage), 4 luxury tender boats (for embarkation-disembarkation).
Well Star Travel Cruise China (2018-founded) is a Chinese state-owned company – a joint venture of CTS (China Travel Services International) and COSCO Shipping Group.
Star Travel Cruise plans short-breaks from homeports in China to ports in Japan and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia). The liner Piano Land (ex P&O Oriana) started operations in August 2019.
Kontiki Expeditions (2020-founded) is an Ecuador-based luxury small-ship cruising company, plans to start operations in 2020-Q3.
Kontiki Expeditions owns 2x yachts (9-cabin/18-passenger/10-crew each) and operates two 8-day Ecuadorian coastal itineraries – “The Toquilla Expedition” and “The Spondylus Expedition”. The voyages are themed on wildlife viewing (seabirds, animals, flora), indigenous foods, professional onboard wellness program, culture/traditions and support to local communities.
World’s largest cruise companies
Carnival Corporation & plc (American-Panamanian passenger ship company, founded in 1972) is the world’s largest cruise company, with almost 52% share of the market. Dual-listed (as Carnival Corp and Carnival plc), headquartered at Carnival House Southampton. Has a combined of 116 cruise passenger ships (including 10 on order), more than 160,000 berths, over 10,000 employees and 75,000 crew, USD 38,9 billion in assets, and USD 16,4 billion revenue (data 2016). Owns 11 cruise brands (in brackets – the year of acquisition /establishment) – AIDA (2000), Carnival (1972), Costa (2000), Cunard (1998), Holland America (1989), Ibero (2007), P&O UK and P&O Australia (2003), Princess (2003), and Seabourn (1992). Carnival’s major stock-holder is the company founder’s Arison family (47%).
Royal Caribbean International – founded 1997 as an American-Norwegian ship cruise company. RCCL is the 2nd largest cruise line in the world, with headquarters in Miami FL. RCCL controls over a quarter of the cruise market, with 58,000 employees, nearly US $20 billion in assets, and almost US $7 billion in revenue (data 2011). The combined of 46 cruise passenger ships (including 3 on order), of 5 distinct brands – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity, Pullmantur (purchased 2006), Azamara Club (established 2007), CDF Croisières de France (est 2008 / merged with Pullmantur in 2017). RCCL also fully owns Air Pullmantur, and 50% of TUI Cruises (2009, a joint venture with TUI AG).
Apollo Global Management LLC (founded in 1990 as Apollo Advisors). Apollo is one of the world’s largest private investment companies (over US $37 billion in assets, US $16 billion in companies, headquartered in NYC). The firm specializes in private equity funds (buyout transactions, and purchasing distressed securities), and capital markets (with hedge funds and real estate funds, corporate restructuring, and consolidations).
The Walt Disney Company – founded in 1923, and nowadays the largest and richest media conglomerate in the world. Headquartered in Burbank CA, and owning 6 major divisions, 10 subsidiaries (almost 150,000 employees, US $71 billion in assets, US $38 billion revenue – data 2011). Amongst the Disney’s best known (and priced) assets are the ABC media, the ESPN cable network, and the PIXAR Animation Studios, along with all the Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide.
Mediterranean Shipping Company SA (MSC, founded in 1970, owned by the Aponte family) – the 2nd largest shipping line in the world (by container ship capacity), with more than 555 vessels of almost 2,2 million TEU (including 11 under construction – some of the world’s largest container ships ever built, with capacity 15,000 TEU each). The MSC shipping line serves 270 ports worldwide, with over 29,000 employees.
Genting Group (founded in 1964, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Genting is a leading Asian multinational company (developing, operating and marketing in Tourism, 1,800 ha Resorts World Genting, Gaming (casinos), Real Estates, 54,000 ha Plantations, Power Generation, Oil-Gas, e-commerce, over 58,000 employees, the US $5,1 billion revenue, US $13,5 in assets). One of the most famous tourist features of Malaysia is the “Genting Highlands” resort, with a world-class casino and a theme park. Owns about 20% of Star Cruises (the world’s 3rd largest operator).
NYK Line (“Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha”, translated as “Japan Mail Shipping Line”), main headquarters Chiyoda (Tokyo) and regional in London, NYC, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Sao Paulo. Established 1870, a core Mitsubishi company and currently the world’s 10th largest cargo-container and shipping company. In the recent past, the majority of Japan’s merchant sailed under its flag (1900-1950). Entered the passenger cruise ship business with one of the most expensive cruise lines in the world – its newly-formed in 1989 subsidiary Crystal Cruise Lines. The NYK Line also operates the MS Asuka II (the ex MS Crystal Harmony), catering to the Japanese market exclusively. Financial data: revenue about the US $25 billion, about 55,000 employees worldwide, with 240 offices in 26 countries.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH) ownership is 43,4% Genting Group, 32,5% Apollo Management and 10,8% TPG Capital (Texas Pacific Group, large private equity global investments firm). NCL controls ~8% of the global cruising market.
P&O Princess Cruises PLC was a restructured company between 2000 and 2003. This company was the successor of “Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company” (P&O, founded in 1837). P&O owns 6 cruise line brands and 26 ships. The company merged into Carnival Corp in 2003.
Adventure Of The Seas
Allure Of The Seas
Anthem of the Seas
Brilliance Of The Seas
Empress Of The Seas
Enchantment Of The Seas
Explorer Of The Seas
Freedom Of The Seas
Grandeur Of The Seas
Harmony Of The Seas
Independence Of The Seas
Jewel Of The Seas
Liberty Of The Seas
Majesty Of The Seas
Mariner Of The Seas
Navigator Of The Seas
Oasis Of The Seas
Odyssey Of The Seas
Ovation Of The Seas
Quantum Of The Seas
Radiance Of The Seas
Rhapsody Of The Seas
Serenade Of The Seas
Spectrum Of The Seas
Symphony Of The Seas
Vision Of The Seas
Voyager Of The Seas
Wonder Of The Seas
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Mardi Gras
Norwegian Cruise Line
Pride of America