Cruise Line Companies List

By ,   November 26, 2015 ,   Ships and Lines

CruiseMapper's cruise line companies list includes all major cruise line brands, as well as renown smaller-fleet passenger shipping companies and operators with well-established market positions and high indices for passenger loyalty.

Here you will find information on all the world's best cruise passenger travel companies, including river shipping companies and new cruise lines. This survey is integrated with largest cruise companies (corporate ownership) and UK cruise companies.

Cruise Line Companies

A cruise line company operates passenger ships sailing to popular travel destinations. Such line brands differ from other passenger shipping lines. General passenger shipping lines (including ferry lines) are concerned primarily with passenger (and cargo) transportation.

cruise ship companies list

Cruise companies' business is the leisure travel and entertainment. Most of the line's feature activities and signature amenities are onboard its vessels. Still, many activities and a selection of land tours are additionally offered in ports of call (which form the cruise 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 the Hotel Manager.

What is a cruise line?

A ship cruise line is a company that owns and utilizes travel passenger ships. Many lines are well-established traditional passenger shipping lines. Some have been founded in the second half of the 20th century, specifically for cruising. A wave of failures and consolidations in the 1990s resulted in many lines existing only as "brands" within larger corporations. Brands exist partly because of the repeat customer loyalty, and also to offer different levels of quality and service. The "BEST FUN" shipowner frequently sell, renovate or simply rename their ships just to keep up with the river or sea travel trends.

Cruise lines classification

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

CHEAPEST (aka "massmarket" and "mainstream") are the "kids cruise lines" (excluding Disney, of course). They have the best fares for a travel vacation with included entertainment, complimentary-use onboard facilities and scheduled activities, complimentary enrichment and kids programs.

crewed charter boat cruises caribbean packages

  • good product at affordable prices
  • fares from $50 to $300 per day/person (Inside - Suite)
  • itineraries from 3 to 10 days
  • typical passengers: mix of "veterans" and "first-timers", from truly young to singles/couples in their 50s
  • large ships; great variety of activities; average food/service quality; "large resort like" experience rather than a traditional cruise; up to 3000 passengers.
  • Exemplary lines are Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Costa, MSC.

BUDGET lines deliver a basic product at a basic price.

  • fares from $200 to $500 per day/person
  • itineraries from 3 to 17 days
  • typical passengers: predominantly "first-timers", kids and families
  • smaller and older ships; good food/service quality; such cruise lines are usually regional, with numerous passengers from the local territories
  • Exemplary lines are Celebration Line, Disney, Celebrity.

LUXURY lines are classified in 2 main categories by the type of the itineraries:

Luxury RIVER lines operate river travel voyages with some of the best small ships on inland waterways (rivers and canals) mainly in Europe and North America, as well as in Russia, China, Egypt, the Peruvian Amazon.

  • good product at a more affordable price
  • fares from $250 to $450 per day/person
  • itineraries from 7 to 15 days (some can last for more than 3 weeks)
  • typical passengers: regular and loyal customers- miscellaneous: the vessels are usually smaller, and accommodate an average of 90-240 passengers (up to 1000 on some ships); very good food/service quality.
  • exemplary lines: Viking, and Uniworld.

SPECIALTY & EXPEDITION lines operate "different cruises". They sail to unusual destinations (such as the Europe's Arctic, the South America's Antarctica and Galapagos Islands, The Asia's Indian Ocean exotic islands (featuring Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius). In this category fall also the small ship cruise lines operating in Alaska.

  • prices depend on the length/itinerary
  • fares from $150 to over $500 per day/person
  • itineraries from 7 to 14 days
  • passengers: vary by itinerary - from fairly young and lively (on sailing trips) to older and more experienced (on expedition trips)
  • miscellaneous: a real bouquet of itineraries (culinary, cultural, health and well-being, romance, expedition, etc.); vessel types vary from restored ocean liners to coastal steamers and ice breakers.
  • exemplary lines: Windstar, Star Clippers, Metropolitan Touring. 

MAJOR (world's LARGEST) Cruise Lines List

The world's best cruise companies operate the largest passenger ships in the world. The "Big Players" in the industry of sea voyages, with the world's biggest passenger ships, the world's largest fleets and cheapest cruise rates. For more money information see biggest cruise companies (corporate ownership of the major brands).

Cruise Line Companies List - CruiseMapper

Company (year established, headquarters, concise information)Review link / Fleet

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

  • world's largest and cheapest cruise line, with the unique concept of cheap short cruise deals
  • built the first super-large passenger ship in the world (Carnival Destiny / Sunshine, launched in 1996 and exceeding for the first time the 100,000 gross tonnage barrier)
  • the major subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc

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

  • luxury passenger ships, since 1988 - a major brand of the RCCL

P&O Cruises (since 1837, British-American line, Southampton, UK)

  • large-sized liners operating mainly on roundtrips from UK and in the Caribbean 9from barbados)
  • owned by Carnival Corporation

P&O Cruises Australia (headquarters North Sydney, New South Wales, AU, division of "P&O Princess Cruises" plc)


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

  • 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)

Cunard Line (since 1840 as "British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company", British-American, headquarters in Southampton UK, and Santa Clarita CA)


Disney Cruise Line (1998, Celebration FL)

  • 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.

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

  • 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).

MSC Cruises / MSC Crociere SA (since 1987 as "Lauro Lines", headquarters Geneva, Switzerland)

  • owns and operates large-sized and cheap ships
  • ranked world's 4th largest
  • sub-division of MSC Shipping (Mediterranean Shipping Company SA) since 1989

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

  • 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.

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

  • operates large-sized liners
  • former subsidiary of "P&O Princess Cruises PLC"
  • now fully owned by Carnival Corp

RCI Royal Caribbean International (1968, Norwegian-American, Miami FL)

  • has the world's largest passenger ships, and the 2nd largest fleet (after Carnival)
  • innovated the coastal property leasing with the Labadee exclusive resort (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"
  • the main / largest brand in the RCCL's family

AIDA Cruises / AIDA Kreuzfahrten (1960 as Deutsche Seereederei)

  • large liners
  • serves exclusively the German-speaking market, with mostly younger clientele.
  • AIDA was a subsidiary first of P&O Princess Cruises (2000), and since 2003 is a brand of Carnival Corp

Pullmantur Cruises (2007, Norwegian-American)

  • the Spanish brand of RCCL
  • has medium-sized ships

Thomson (estd 1995, renamed to Marella Cruises in 2017)

  • owned by TUI AG (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)

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

Star Cruises (established 1993)

  • owner Genting Hong Kong (GHK)
  • budget travel brand with over 35,000 berths
  • leader on the Asia-Pacific market
  • 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)

CMV Cruise and Maritime Voyages (2009, Dartford UK)

  • serves mainly the British market)
  • has adults-only ships

LUXURY Cruise Companies List

As a rule, almost all luxury passenger shipping companies operate either small or mid-sized vessels / mega-yachts. The around the world itineraries visit some of the world's best ranked premier travel destinations, largest cities and all-inclusive resorts as optional (or included as packages) land tour deals. Their ships' "specially affluent" customers enjoy a 24/7 impeccably superior service and the best cuisine at sea.

Their clientele is sophisticated, social, wealthy. Such travelers are also adventurous, tending to stick to 5-star experiences, and don't blink at paying top dollars to be properly pampered. They are attracted also by the diverse itinerary programs, and by the very personal service - the hotel and bar staff gets to know guests' likes and dislikes from the very beginning of the voyage.

The luxury ship travel experience

If a brand line is categorized as "luxury", this already reveals a lot about the vacation travel experience that its deals provide. Owning and operating generally smaller ships, these companies are specialized in providing the industry's best in everything. The list of "best of the best" includes large cabins (with lots of suite accommodations to choose from), 5-star hotel amenities, brass-teak-mahogany furnishing, gourmet dining, tranquility, style, perfection in every detail, highly personalized concierge service by devoted staff, sophisticated enrichment programs, art auctions, decadent venues.

  • The onboard atmosphere is much like in a private club.
  • Course-by-course full dinner is served by gracious waiters who know their jobs, and also can be served in cabin, if you like.
  • Onboard social life and entertainment features specialty cocktails in the piano bar, listening to world-class musicians and singers, attending professional lectures and classes. As itineraries, such lines try to avoid the megaship ports of call and often choose sailing/yachting destinations.
  • Many luxury ships carry up to 200 passengers, while the largest among them are barely midsize by the mainstream industry's standards, carrying up to 1000 passengers. Several of the newest luxury cruise ship lines spiced up the market by adding new expedition vessels. All of these companies have spent millions on regular refurbishments and adding new amenities and services.
  • However, luxury cruises cost a lot more than the typical mainstream deals. Expect to pay about (often at least!) US$2,000 PP for just a week in the Caribbean Sea. A spacious suite or booking during the year's busiest times costs twice that - or more.
  • In order to balance these super expensive rates, all luxury lines include many extras in their fares. Most of them are inclusive of unlimited alcohol (liquors and wines, soft beverages, bottled water, well-stocked minibars, gratuities, luxury brand bath products. The new trend is to include shore excursions and the Wi-Fi Internet too.
  • Luxury cruise ships are usually not well equipped for kids. Still, private babysitting can be arranged with some of the off-duty staff.
  • Dress code is "elegant casual", with formal nights on longer itineraries only.

Best luxury cruise companies

Luxury cruise ship companies offer "small cruise" experiences marked by superiority and amazing destinations with even your-choice itineraries. They own some of world's the most elegant cruise vessels with beautiful designs and all the newest technologies and materials incorporated to guarantee the utmost safety during your royalty-style vacation.

The smallest ships are often charter yachts with capacity from 50 up to 300 passengers. Some ships accommodate up to 700-800 guests. As regions / destinations, most luxury ships operate in Europe (Mediterranean), some in Alaska (with included land and sea packages, unlimited excursions), some in Galapagos Islands, Asia (including Halong Bay Vietnam), Brazil Amazon (combined with Atlantic Ocean cruisings), and on Around the World voyages (all-inclusive deals). Now see who owns what on the luxury cruising market:

  • Azamara (subsidiary of RCCL / Royal Caribbean)
  • Crystal (subsidiary of Genting Group)
  • Dream Cruises (subsidiary of Genting Group)
  • Windstar (owned by "Xanterra Parks & Resorts")
  • Cunard and Seabourn (fully-owned by Carnival Corp)
  • Ponant Cruises (Groupe Artemis / Financiere Pinault)
  • Privately owned are SeaDream, Silversea, Norwegian Yacht Voyages, Ritz-Carlton, Virgin Voyages.

All-Inclusive Cruise Lines

All-inclusive cruise travel companies offer expensive packages on most exotic itineraries, perfectly flavored with an impeccable, high-end "white glove" butler service, best quality of products and services, stylish onboard experiences featuring grandeur, elegance, sophistication, comfort, fad and savoir-faire. Booking luxury cruise ship vacations depends wholly on the degree of your self-esteem, and generally correlates to the size of your wallet.

All luxury voyages are operated on vessels with high passenger-to-space ratios (even on the smallest vessels), with all-inclusive packages (often with air included), complimentary specialty restaurants (premium cuisine), huge choices as destinations / itineraries, excellent service. All big-sized luxury liners are famous with their elegant public spaces, classy observation lounges, most spacious balcony staterooms, largest suites at sea, premium brand spas, multimillion-dollar fine art galleries.

These ships also offer plenty of comfortable and quiet onboard areas, personable hosts, deck parties, unique shore excursions / land tours (guided safaris, car tours, luxury lodge stays, even private jet travel and custom-made expeditions) - basically, whatever you want, as long as you can afford it.

Smaller and more intimate shipboard dining areas substitute the specialty restaurants on the mega-liners. These venues (some with alfresco dining alternatives) feature soothing decors and an outstanding variety of gourmet, beautifully presented food. Show lounges host world-class live performances by classical orchestras, and shows performed by guests celebrities, as well as expansive daily enrichment programs with complimentary workshops and classes.

By the most authoritative online sources, the top 5 positions for best luxury cruise lines are occupied by RSSC Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal and Azamara Club. Most small-fleet companies operating mega-yacjts usually provide alternative private ship-charter deals to large corporations and the world's richest families.

Company (year established, headquarters, concise information)Review link / Fleet

Azamara Club (since 2007)

  • premium ships
  • affordable all-inclusive deals
  • owned by RCCL.

CDP Compagnie du Ponant (1988, Marseille, France)

  • owned by Groupe Artemis / Financiere Pinault (before 2015 - by Bridgepoint Capital - European private equity fund)
  • serves mainly the French-speaking market

Oceania Cruises (2002, Miami FL)

  • 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)

  • 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)

  • owner Genting Hong Kong (GHK)
  • luxury travel brand with newbuilds


RSSC Regent Seven Seas Cruises (1990, the ex "Radisson Seven Seas Cruises", Fort Lauderdale FL)

  • owned by "Premier Cruises" / Appolo Menagement since 2008
  • sold to NCL in 2014
  • all-inclusive deals ("the most all-inclusive" - alcohol, shore excursions, tips)
  • has smaller ships "all-suite, all-balcony", with the first Canyon Ranch Spa at sea

Seabourn (1986, Miami FL)

  • "world ship cruise" line, subsidiary of Carnival Corporation
  • 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)

  • 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).

Virgin Voyages (established 2017, headquartered in 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.
  • This UK cruise line company owns 3 vessels (each weights 110,000 GT, with capacity 2860 passengers and 1150 crew)

Windstar (1984, Tall-Sailing ship cruise company)

  • operates in the Mediterranean vacations (summer) and Caribbean and Pacific (winter)
  • owned by "Xanterra Parks and Resorts" (since May 2011)

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

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

Norwegian Yacht Voyages (founded 2017, rebranded from "Nordic Cruise Company")

  • has 4 newbuild mega-yachts (polar expedition vessels with ice-strengthened hulls)
  • operations started in 2019
  • itineraries visit ports and destinations in Antarctica, Caribbean, Europe (Arctic, Baltic, Mediterranean)

SMALL Cruise Lines List

All these small ship cruise travel companies (and cruiseferry lines) are well known brand names. Some of them operate locally, other operate adventure/expedition ships. Most of the companies have their business name attached to the label "small ship luxury cruises" - expensive, specially designed vessels for sailing to some of the most unique destinations of the world.

Company (year established, headquarters. concise info)Fleet
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 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.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line (2008, Riviera Beach FL) - 2-day Bahamas from Florida (Port Palm Beach). The company is the successor of the "Imperial Majesty Cruise Line", currently operates 2 shipsfleet
Coral Expeditions (until 2015 known as "Coral Princess Cruises" /estd 1984 by Capt Tony Briggs) 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.
Fred Olsen (since 1848, Ipswich, Suffolk UK) - a Norwegian company with 4 smaller ships from England (Caribbean Fly-cruises from Barbados during winter), around South America, and Around the World sea voyages. The line is a feature brand of Fred Olsen Group (luxury hotels, real estates, property development, aviation, crewing and building ships).fleet
GAP Adventures (1990, Toronto, Canada) - the largest cruise company in Canada, with over 1,000 sea travel tours per year, to over 100 countries.

Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten (since 1970, Hamburg, Germany, 5 smaller best luxury ships, including 2 newbuilds)

  • owner of the worlds most expensive cruise ship (MS Europa)
  • brand of Hapag-Lloyd AG (container shipping company).
  • Since 1998 is partialy owned by TUI AG (50%)
  • The HAPAG line ("Hamburg American Line") was founded in 1912 as Transatlantic cargo passenger ship line, and the Lloyd company ("North German Lloyd", or NGL) was formed in 1856 as Bremen-New York cargo and passenger carrier.
  • Nowadays, Hapag-Lloyd is again a major shipping company - the world's 5th largest by fleet capacity.

Hurtigruten / Norwegian Coastal Express (since 1893, ferry and cruise vessels)

  • 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.

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.
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.

Louis Cruises (since 1986 as "Louis Cruise Lines" - ferries charters for short sea vacation voyages to Greek Islands and Holy Land leaving from Cyprus).

  • The line has headquarters in Limassol, Cyprus), and is a subsidiary of Louis plc (the leader of the East Mediterranean tourism industry).In 2014, the line was re-branded as 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 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
Saga Cruises /SAGA Holidays (estd 1996, Canterbury, England) - serves exclusively the UK marketfleet
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").

And yes, just like on the yummy photo above, these business entities are all ice and cream. Yes, they are different flavors of cold but sweet money-making machines. But they are also making our lives so pleasantly "travel vacation" happy. So a huge thanx to all the cruise line companies and their devoted staff - for being here and now, for cruising us!

RIVER Cruise Companies 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 (year established, headquarters. concise info)Review 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.


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.