Largest Cruise Line Companies

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By ,   November 26, 2015 ,   Ships and Lines

See here the complete list of world's largest cruise companies (passenger shipping corporations), associations and organizations. Corporate cruise line ownership - who are the owners of all cruise brands. As this is a very long servey, for your convenience next links jump down directly to largest cruise corporations, list of all cruise lines, river cruise companies and new cruise lines.

According to latest cruise industry statistics, world's 4 largest cruise companies slowly conquer the market. Their combined market share was projected to grow over the forecast period 2015-2021 from 83,2% to 87,6%. World's largest are Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL Norwegian and MSC.

What is a cruise line?

Cruise company's business is leisure travel, cruisetours and entertainment. Most brands have unique activities and signature amenities offered exclusively onboard its vessels. Many activities and land tours are additionally (optionally) offered in ports of call along ship's itinerary route.

Cruise ship companies typically hire two separate types of staff: crew (commanded by the Captain) and service staff (hotel and dining operations) supervised by Hotel Manager.

Cruise line is a passenger shipping company operating privately-owned, parent-owned or chartered vessels. Cruise brands differ from ferry companies, which operate Ro-Ro ships and offer combined passenger and cargo shipping services on limited number of routes and in just few regions/destinations.

Most companies are well-established passenger shipping brands. Most were founded in the second half of the 20th century, and specifically for cruising. Some were founded over 100 years ago as cargo shipping lines. Failures and consolidations in the 1990s resulted in many subsidiary companies existing as "brands" within large corporations. Brands exist partly because of their repeat customer loyalty, also to offer different levels of quality and services. Corporative shipowners frequently sell, renovate or simply rename their vessels to keep up with travel industry's trends.

All brands offer complimentary onboard live entertainment, leisure facilities, daily scheduled activities, enrichment program, youth programs, buffet dining.

Cruise lines classification

According to the quality and price of their product, brands are classified in 4 distinct types.

  • CHEAPEST (aka massmarket, mainstream) 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 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.
  • BUDGET brands 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.
  • ALL-INCLUSIVE brands are Seabourn, Silversea, Regent, Azamara, Crystal, Virgin Voyages, Norwegian Yacht Voyages, Ritz-Carlton Yachts, SeaDream Yachts. Onboard product is 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), less megaship seaports, more yachting destinations. Vessels are mid-sized (mega-yachts) with 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-yacjts provide alternative private ship-charter deals to large corporations and 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 TRAVEL 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 cruise 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 premium quality. Market's largest are Viking, Uniworld, CroisiEurope, AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Scenic, Scylla, Luftner, American Cruise Lines, Russia (Vodohod, Mosturflot, Infoflot, Orthodox).

Cruise Lines List - CruiseMapper

Cruise Lines List

Company (year established, headquarters)Corporate ownerCruise brand informationFleet

Carnival Cruise Line (1972, British-American, Doral-Miami FL, trademarked "The FUN Ships")

Carnival Corporation

  • world's largest and cheapest cruise line, 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)
  • (review)
fleet

Celebrity Cruises (1988 as "Chandris Fantasy Cruises", Miami FL)

RCCL Royal Caribbean

  • American luxury brand (review)
fleet

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 UK and in Caribbean (from Barbados)
  • P&O Australia - big-sized liners in Australia New Zealand
fleet

Costa Cruises /Costa Crociere SpA (1924 as cargo carrier, Genoa, Italy)

Carnival Corporation

  • provides passenger shipping services since 1947
  • major brand of Carnival Corporation & plc (since 2000)
  • Europe's largest line, with Italy-flagged ships (average tonnage 80,000 GT)
fleet

Cunard Line (since 1840, British-American, headquarters in Southampton UK, and Santa Clarita CA)

Carnival Corporation

  • established as "British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company"
  • operates large-sized and luxury ocean cruise liners from UK, including the only one contemporary regular Transatlantic liner RMS Queen Mary 2
  • Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
fleet

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 3,200 passengers)
  • belongs to The Walt Disney Company - with the world's most famous fantasy characters and themed entertainment.
fleet

Holland America Line (since 1873 as "Netherlands-America Steamship Company", Seattle WA)

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 Bahamas (Little San Salvador, best known as Half Moon Cay).
fleet

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 world's 4th largest
  • sub-division of MSC Shipping (Mediterranean Shipping Company SA) since 1989
fleet

NCL Norwegian Cruise Line (1966, Miami-Dade County, FL)

NCLH Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

  • operates large vessels
  • ranked world's 3th 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.
fleet

Princess Cruises (1965, British-American, Santa Clarita CA)

Carnival Corporation

  • operates large-sized liners
  • former subsidiary of "P&O Princess Cruises PLC"
fleet
RCI Royal Caribbean International (1968, Norwegian-American, Miami FL)

RCCL Royal Caribbean

  • world's largest passenger ships, 2nd largest fleet (after Carnival)
  • innovated the coastal property leasing with Labadee (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"
fleet

AIDA Cruises / AIDA Kreuzfahrten (1960 as Deutsche Seereederei)

Carnival Corporation

  • large liners, serves exclusively the German-speaking market, mostly younger clientele
fleet

Pullmantur Cruises (2007, Norwegian-American)

RCCL Royal Caribbean

  • Spanish brand with medium-sized ships
fleet

Marella Cruises / formerly Thomson Cruises (estd 1995, renamed in 2017)

RCCL Royal Caribbean and TUI AG

  • owned by TUI AG (subsidiary of TUI Travel PLC) and RCCL
  • operated by Thomson Holidays (1965, Luton UK)
  • provides affordable deals on UK roundtrips
fleet

TUI Cruises (2007, Hamburg Germany)

RCCL Royal Caribbean and TUI AG

  • large liners to Caribbean, Europe (Baltic, Med, Canaries)
  • serves exclusively the German-speaking market
  • owned by RCCL and TUI AG
fleet

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 (subsidiary of Genting Group, Malaysia)
fleet

CMV Cruise and Maritime Voyages (2009, Dartford UK)

private

  • serves mainly the UK market with adults-only ships
fleet

Azamara Club (since 2007)

RCCL Royal Caribbean

  • premium ships with affordable all-inclusive deals
fleet

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
fleet

Oceania Cruises (2002, Miami FL)

RCCL Royal Caribbean

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.fleet

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
fleet

Dream Cruises (established 2016)

Genting Group (Malaysia)

  •  
  • subsidiary of GHK
  • luxury travel brand with newbuilds
fleet

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
fleet

Seabourn (1986, Miami FL)

Carnival Corporation

  • operates smaller all-suite ships with all-inclusive deals
  • some of the largest Spas at sea, up to 4 alternative dining venues
fleet

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
fleet

Virgin Voyages (established 2017, headquartered in Crawley /Sussex, England)

Virgin Group

  • 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 (estd 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 (each weights 110,000 GT, with capacity 2860 passengers and 1150 crew)
fleet

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection (founded 2017, based in Miami FL)

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

  • 3 mega-yacjts, each with capacity 298 passengers accommodated in 149 balcony suites
  • Itineraries are in Europe, Canada New England, Caribbean, South Pacific
fleet

Windstar (1984, Tall-Sailing ship cruise company)

Xanterra Parks and Resorts

  • tall-sailing ships
  • operates in Mediterranean (summer) and Caribbean and Pacific (winter)
  • owned by Xanterra since May 2011
fleet

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
fleet

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)
fleet

Hurtigruten (since 1893)

 

  • cruiseferries 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
fleet

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line (2008, Riviera Beach FL)

 

  • 2-day Bahamas cruises from Florida (Port Palm Beach)
  • successor of "Imperial Majesty Cruise Line"
fleet

Saga Cruises /SAGA Holidays (estd 1996, Canterbury, England)

 

  • serves exclusively the UK market
  • newbuild expedition ships
fleet

SMALL Cruise Lines List

The following small ship cruise companies (and cruiseferry lines) are well known brand names. Some of them operate locally, other operate expedition ships. Most companies are in the "small ship luxury cruise" business.

Company informationFleet
Birka Cruises (1971, Mariehamn, Aland/Finland) operates one ship (MS Birka Stockholm) for 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 DenarauFiji 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.

Coral Expeditions (until 2015 known as "Coral Princess Cruises" /estd 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.
Star Clippers (luxury tall sailing ships) for 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 UN-Cruise Adventures) - Seattle expedition line, sister brand of ASC/American Safari Cruises (founded 1996). Destinations & ships:

  • Alaska Southeast and BC (60-pass Wilderness Adventurer, 76-pass Wilderness Discoverer & 76-pass Wilderness Explorer).
  • Southeast Alaska, Columbia & Snake Rivers, Washington & BC, Sea of Cortes, Hawaii - 22-pass Safari Quest; 36-pass Safari Explorer; 64-pass Safari Voyager; 86-pass Safari Endeavour.
  • Southeast Alaska, Columbia & Snake Rivers - 88-pass SS Legacy (a steamer-ship replica.
fleet
Kristina Cruises (1985, family-owned, Kotka, Finland) - operates in the Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean and Black Sea.
  • Kristina Katarina
  • smaller yachts

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")

  • 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.
fleet

Celestyal Cruises (formerly Louis Cruises - Greek Islands and Holy Land cruises leaving from Greece and Turkey

  • headquarters in Limassol, Cyprus), 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.
fleet
Black Sea Cruise Line (since 2017) is owned by Rosmorport (Russian Federation). Operates Black Sea cruises exclusivelly.Knyaz Vladimir
Metropolitan Touring - owns and operates all three Galapagos Islands luxury cruise yachts
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

Pearl Mist

Phoenix Reisen (1988, Germany) - operates chartered ships of smaller sizes, serves the German-speaking market exclusivelyfleet
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).fleet
ResidenSea (top luxury ship operator of privetly-owned linersms The World
Silja Line (estd 1957, Helsinki, Finland) - ferry-cruise company (car and passenger services between Sweden and Finland. Fleet 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 List

River cruise lines provide as product a very "specially modern" style of travel cruising. It's the perfect combination of the world's best river cruise itineraries (in Europe, USA, Asia, Africa), tranquility and style, vessels with innovative design and top technology, highest standards of service, all-inclusive cruise deals prices - and much more.

Company informationReview link / Fleet
A-ROSA - 3 ships for Rhine, Danube & Rhone cruises.fleet

AMAWaterways (2002 as Amadeus Watterways, 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, on-board 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.

fleet

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.fleet
American Queen Steamboat Company - Mississippi River cruises on paddle-wheel riverboats.fleet
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).fleet
Crystal River Cruises (since 2017) - 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 are offered culture-themed tours and excursions. In some of the ports, the new Crystal river ships offer overnight stays that allow passengers to enjoy high-class gourmet dining experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants ashore and also exclusive evening events and entertainment on the ship.fleet
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.fleet
Emerald Waterways (2014) - a Scenic Tours subsidiary for the European market. This new river cruise line starts with two river boats (each with 182-passenger capacity) - "Emerald Star" and "Emerald Sky", on 7- and 14-night itineraries. As price niche, this line will compete on the less expensive "most popular rivers in Europe" cruising market with Viking and Avalon.fleet
European Waterways (1977, Datchet, Berkshire UK) - operates in 9 European countries (including Ireland and Scotland), with 3 small river boats and 18 luxury boutique-hotel barges (4-15 passengers).fleet
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.fleet
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).fleet
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 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).fleet

NEW Cruise Lines (2016-2017-2018-2019)

Company (review link / fleet) / year established, headquartersConcise Information
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)
  • 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 (estd 2000 under the name "Fast Track Holidays") was acquired in 2007
  • Its name was changed to "Virgin Holidays Cruises" in 2009
  • owns 3 large vessels (each weights 110,000 GT, with capacity 2860 passengers and 1150 crew)
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection (founded 2017, based in Miami FL)
  • 3 mega-yacjts 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
  • newly refurbished MS Louisiane ship (150-passenger, fka Columbia Queen)
"Diamond Cruise" is a start-up Chinese company operating with departures out of Shanghai China.
  • started with 1 ship (Aegean Paradise).
  • intends to invest USD 2,1 billion in newbuilds by the year 2020
Anteros Cruises is a LGBT cruise line since 2017 with a 400-passenger ship.
  • "luxury yacht-like experience" with an 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.
  • It started operations in 2018 with Eastern Mediterranean cruises (to Greek Islands) leaving roundtrip from Beirut (Lebanon).
  • 1 ship fleet (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.
  • year-round 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 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. Business focus is on the India/Sri Lanka and the Europe/Southeast Asia markets.

  • The first vessel will be with capacity 800 passengers (scheduled for launch in late 2015, departure port Colombo (Sri Lanka).
  • The second vessel will be with capacity 1500 to 2000 passengers (scheduled for launch in early 2016).
  • Both ships will 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)
  • itinerary program offers year-round Caribbean cruises leaving from Aruba
Viking Ocean Cruises (estd 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 fleetmates.
  • 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 Mediterranean and Baltic.
Blue World Voyages (established 2017) is 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 chairman and founder Gene Meehan and CEO John B Richards (former Starbucks president).
  • Before company's launch in May 2019, all Club members will be asked about itineraries selection, cabin design, facilities, services and onboard menus.
  • The company intends to refit an existing cruise ship with original capacity around 900 pax retrofited down to 350 pax, allowing space for bigger staterooms, entire (dedicated) wellness deck, plus 26x one- and two-bedroom private residences available for purchasing on the ship.
Arctic Cruise Line (founded 2018, starting operations in 2021) is run by Gert Brask (CEO) - private entrepreneur with experience in commercial fishing. 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 fleet.

World's largest cruise companies

The biggest cruise companies - they all are very big, some are bigger big, one is the biggest. They all are very very very much rich!

Largest Cruise Line Companies - CruiseMapper

  1. 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 combined fleet 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). The Carnival's major stock-holder is the company founder's Arison family (47%).
  2. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) - 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 revenue (data 2011). Combined fleet 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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, 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).
  7. 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 the Japan's merchant fleet 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 US $25 billion, about 55,000 employees worldwide, with 240 offices in 26 countries.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Largest cruise industry organizations

CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) - since December 17 2012 this is a Global Trade Association (umbrella company) for 9 of the largest cruise industry associations:

  1. CLIA itself (world's largest, representing brands, operators, agents, port authorities, partners; engaged in training-marketing-research)
  2. ECC (European Cruise Council)
  3. ACA (Asia Cruise Association)
  4. PSA (Passenger Shipping Association)
  5. CLIA France (France, Association Francaise des Compagnies de Croisieres)
  6. ABREMAR (Brazil)
  7. NWCCA (Northwest and Canada Cruise Association)
  8. ACA (Alaska Cruise Association)
  9. ICCA (International Cruise Council AustralAsia)

ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations) - ICOMIA is a global (marine industry) trade association with the majority of its members being national marine industries and manufacturers. The biggest (full members) are:

  1. IMCI (International Marine Certification Institute)
  2. CCYIA (China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association)
  3. FIN (French Nautical Industries Federation)
  4. DBSV (German Boat and Shipbuilders Association)
  5. JBIA (Japan Boating Industry Association)
  6. HISWA (Dutch Boating Industry Association)
  7. BMF (British Marine Federation)
  8. NMMA (National Marine)

Now the list of all the rest large organizations:

  1. ACE (Association of Cruise Experts / UK)
  2. LCA (Leading Cruise Agents / UK)
  3. AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators)
  4. CSA (Caribbean Shipping Association)
  5. ECSA (European Community Shipowners Associations)
  6. FCCA (Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association), members list includes the brands AIDA, Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, MSC, NCL Norwegian, P&O, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, TUI.
  7. IG River Cruise (Europe)
  8. JOPA (Japan Oceangoing Passenger Ship Association)