Our “best cruise line companies” list also includes renown but smaller passenger ship companies and operators with well-established market positions and high indices for passenger loyalty. Read here information on the world’s best passenger shipping and cruise travel lines, including river ship cruise companies and new cruise lines (at page bottom).
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 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 lines (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.
- 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.
What is the cheapest cruise line?
What is the cheapest cruise line to Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Bermuda, Alaska, Australia, and soon – Asia? Which line offers the cheapest ship travel deals ever, with the cheapest fares for most of the world’s top-popular vacation travel destinations?
And finally, to get it over with, what is the MOST FUN cruise line with the largest fleet of Fun Ships the world has ever seen? Well, here we totally set the pretty blue birdie free, and it sings beautifully clear “Carnival”!
Carnival cruises are usually Holiday or Family-themed sailings, with hugely discounted prices for children. The Carnival’s Xmas deals are the number 1 option for enjoying the cheapest packages to the Caribbean. The line’s signature experience also features great dining, entertainment, gambling and duty-free shopping options, unique family fun experiences (with family-themed attractions), regular departures from large ports, some of the most extravagant facilities at sea – the giant “Seaside Theatre” (with 264 sq-ft LED screen 25m2, 1500 seats), the enormous “Aqua Park” with the “Twister” sliding miracle (“the water-slide that’s 4-decks high”), the SkyRide (the sky bicycles on the new Vista) salt-water pools, a whole adults-only deck, one of the world’s largest Spa&Fitness centers at sea, the best of all Caribbean private islands (Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas), and of course – the industry’s cheapest shore excursions on the massmarket.
Considering the Carnival line’s fares, the right way to compare its prices with other lines is by comparing cabin rates Per Person Per Day, and not for the full itinerary. All operators offer rates based on double occupancy anyway – with the exception of the single-cabins (with one berth), and the additionally specified single supplements rates (the base ticket price by 50 to 100%). Government taxes and port fees generally are not included. Follows an exemplary list with the Carnival Cruise Lines cheapest deals pricing (indicative rates, double occupancy, PP pd, regular /roundtrip sailings only):
- Mexico from Los Angeles (Long Beach port): Catalina Ensenada (4d $50), Vallarta Mazatlan Cabo (7n $45), Cabo Vallarta (7n $65).
- Christmas deals – 6n Belize-Cozumel-Costa Maya ($80), 7n Nassau St Thomas Puerto Rico Grand Turk ($85), 3n Ensenada ($85), 8n Eastern Caribbean and Jamaica ($90), 6n Miami to Jamaica ($70), 8n from San Juan ($65).
- Departures from Miami: Jamaica-Cayman (5n $50), Key West-Cozumel (4n $45), Nassau (3n $55).
- Departures from Port Canaveral: Grand Bahama-Nassau-Half Moon Cay-Key West (4n $40), Progreso-Cozumel (5n $55).
- Departures from Jacksonville: Nassau-Grand Bahama (4n $55), Half Moon Cay-Nassau, or Key West-Nassau (5n $45).
- Departures from Tampa: Cozumel-Belize-Roatan-Cayman (7n $55), Cozumel-Cayman (5n $50), Cozumel (4n $55).
- Departures from Charleston: Nassau-Bahamas (5n $50), or 6n with Key West ($55).
- Departures from Galveston: Costa Maya-Cozumel (6n $80), Jamaica-Cayman-Cozumel (7n $55).
- Departures from Baltimore: Bahamas (7n $60), Caribbean (7n $70), Bermuda (7n $75).
- Departures from NYC New York: Canada (5n $65), with Boston-Portland (7n $60).
- Departures from San Juan Puerto Rico: Eastern-Southern Caribbean (7n $45).
- Departures from Seattle: Alaska (7n $90).
- Departures from Sydney: New Caledonia (9n AU$100) to Isle Of Pines, Lifou, Mare, Noumea, with 4 days at sea.
The cheapest sea travel cruise ship line ever operates some of the most expensive passenger ships in the world – their average cruise ship cost to build is US $430 million (the newest and biggest Carnival Dream class ships cost over $740 million each). In 1996, the Carnival Destiny ship was the fist passenger ship to surpass the “grossly big” gross-tonnage limit of 100,000 tons. The average GRT of the Carnival’s fleet is 101,000.
Carnival Lines are the major subsidiary, and a feature brand name of the Carnival Corporation – the largest passenger shipping operator in the world. Carnival owns 11 companies (among which are Cunard, P&O, Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, AIDA), controlling over half of the whole passenger ship travel market.
Luxury Cruise Lines
As a rule, almost all luxury cruise lines operate either small ships or big (mega) yachts, with the industry’s most expensive cruise travel packages. Their unusual around the world itineraries visit some of the most luxurious destinations, largest cities and high-end, all-inclusive resorts part of the optional or included as packages land tour deals. Their ships’ “specially affluent” customers enjoy a 24/7 impeccably superior service and the best cuisine there is at sea. This Wikipedia hub page is dedicated to the subject of luxury, with links to goods, vehicles, trains, yachts, real estate, hotels and resorts, etc.
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 cruising 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 luxury ships are often charter yachts with capacity from 50 up to 300 passengers. The exception are the Seabourn ships with up to 700 guests. Now see what luxury cruise lines provide their best by region (classification by destination):
- Luxury river boat cruises in Europe, Russia, Asia – Viking, Uniworld, AMA, Avalon.
- Mediterranean – Azamara, Crystal, Seadream (mega yachts), Seabourn, Regent.
- Alaska (included land and sea packages, unlimited excursions) – Regent and Silversea, Hapag Lloyd (flycruises from Germany), Crystal (from San Francisco), Lindblad (from Seattle).
- Galapagos Islands – Celebrity (with ms Xpedition), Metropolitan Touring (3 yachts), Canodros SA.
- Halong Bay (Vietnam, Asia) – Seabourn, Indochina Sails, Vietnam Today Travel Ltd.
- Brazil Amazon (combined with Atlantic Ocean cruising) – Regent, Silversea, Azamara, Oceania, Aqua Expeditions.
- Mediterranean (Greek Islands and Turkey) – Seadream, Seabourn, Regent, Windstar, Star Clippers and Windstar (sailing ships), Crystal, Azamara, Oceania. Small Greek cruise lines operate private yacht charters.
- Around the World luxury cruises are offered by most of these lines (with mostly all-inclusive deals). The exceptions are “affordably luxurious” Cunard and P&O UK (only their Suite-fares are all-inclusive). The best lines for Round The World voyages are Seabourn, Silversea, Regent and Crystal.
And now see who owns what on the luxury cruising market:
- Azamara (subsidiary of RCCL / Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd)
- Crystal (subsidiary of Genting Group)
- Windstar (owned by “Xanterra Parks & Resorts”)
- Owned by Carnival Corp are Cunard and Seabourn.
- Owned by Apollo Management (investment fund) are RSSC (Regent Seven Seas) and Oceania.
- Privately owned are SeaDream, Silversea, Star Clippers.
All-Inclusive Cruise Lines
All-inclusive cruise lines offer expensive packages for top-luxury travel experiences on exotic itineraries, perfectly flavored with an impeccable, high-end “white glove” butler service, style, best quality, best everything. Choosing the luxury cruise travel surely means more money, and along with it – grandeur, elegance and sophistication, comfort, and naturally – fad and savoir-faire. Booking a luxury cruise ship vacation depends wholly on the degree of your self-esteem, and generally correlates to the size of your wallet.
The all-inclusive cruising experience
All of the luxury cruises are operated on vessels with high passenger to space ratios (even on the smallest ships), all-inclusive packages (often with air included), complimentary specialty restaurants with marvelous cuisine, great choices for itineraries, excellent service. All big luxury ships are famous with their elegant public spaces, classy observation lounges, most spacious balcony staterooms, the largest of suites at sea, premium spas, multimillion-dollar fine art galleries.
The luxury ship cruising also features plenty of comfortable and quiet areas, personable hosts, classy deck parties. Such lines offer unique shore excursions, arranging land tours with 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 dining areas on small luxury cruise ships substitute the specialty restaurants of the mega-ships. These venues (some with alfresco dining alternatives) feature soothing decors and an outstanding variety of gourmet, beautifully presented food. Show lounges host world-class performances by classical orchestras, and live shows performed by guests celebrities, expansive daily enrichment programs with workshops and classes.
You can book all-inclusive cruise deals by choosing from a variety of lovely looking ships sailing on exciting itineraries with unique ports of call around the world. By the most authoritative online sources, the top 5 positions for best luxury cruise lines are occupied by Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal and Azamara. You can also add the SeaDream, but this line operates super yachts rather then cruise ships, and most of its deals are ship-charters to large companies and the world’s richest families.
Cruise Lines List
We offer you here a detailed list of cruise line companies by status (scale of operations and fleet capacity) and also lists by name. For detailed info about the corporate ownership of some of the brands, click on the last links in the tables below.
As to the fares, the cheapest (and the MOST FUN) lines are listed as “Best” (including luxury brands with affordable packages). The cheapest prices of the best lines are generally attainable with early booking, low-season travel, ship relocation and late deals, booking lowest cabin category. For line reviews, click on the last links in the paragraphs (initial links redirect to the companies’ official websites).
World’s top cruise companies
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).
|Carnival Line website (1972, British-American, Doral-Miami FL, “The FUN Ships” fleet of 24 large FUN ships) – the world’s largest and cheapest cruise line, with the unique concept of cheap short cruises deals, with the first super large passenger ship in the world (the Destiny ship, in 1996 exceeding for the first time the 100,000 gross tonnage barrier). The Carnival line is the major subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc. Carnival Cruise Company.|
|Celebrity Line website (1988 as “Chandris Fantasy Cruises”, Miami FL) – 11 luxury passenger ships, since 1988 – a major brand of the RCCL. CELEBRITY Cruise Company.|
|Costa Line website /Costa Crociere SpA (1924 as cargo carrier, Genoa, Italy) – a passenger ship company since 1947. A major brand of Carnival Corporation & plc since 2000, and the Europe’s largest line, with 16 flagged Italy cruise ships (average tonnage 80,000 GT). COSTA Cruise Company.|
|Cunard Line website (since 1840 as “British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company”, British-American, headquarters in Southampton UK, and Santa Clarita CA) – 3 large luxury oceanic cruise ships from UK, including the only one contemporary regular Transatlantic passenger liner RMS Queen Mary 2. Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. Cunard lines.|
|Disney Line website (1998, Celebration FL) – the world’s BEST KIDS cruise line, with 4 ocean going vessels (average tonnage 100,000, average capacity 3,200 passengers). The Disney line belongs to The Walt Disney Company – with the world’s most famous fantasy characters and themed entertainment. Disney Ship Cruise Line.|
|Holland America Line website (since 1873 as “Netherlands-America Steamship Company”, Seattle WA) – 15 medium sized ships, serving more than 700,000 passengers a year, owned by Carnival since 1989. HAL started operation in 1872 as a Transatlantic cargo-passenger ship line, mainly between Rotterdam and New York (also to S. America), offering its first sea vacation voyage in 1895. HAL also 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. HAL HOLLAND AMERICA Company.|
|MSC Line website /MSC Crociere SA (since 1987 as “Lauro Lines”, headquarters Geneva, Switzerland) – 12 big cheap ships, the 5th largest in the world, a sub-division of Mediterranean Shipping Company SA since 1989.|
|NCL Line website (1966, Miami-Dade County, FL) – 13 large vessels, the world’s 4th largest (8% of the market), and the inventor of the “Freestyle Cruising” idea (open seating informal dining), and the owner of the first cruise line private island (1977, Great Stirrup Cay). Equally owned by Apollo Management and Star Cruises. NCL owns the American cruise ship Pride of America. NCL Norwegian cruise line.|
|Princess Cruises website (1965, British-American, Santa Clarita CA) – 18 large ships, including 2 very large under construction. The Princess line is an ex subsidiary of “P&O Princess Cruises PLC”, now fully owned by Carnival. Princess cruise lines.|
|Royal Caribbean International website /RCI (1968, Norwegian-American, Miami FL, 24 of the world’s largest passenger ships, and the 2nd largest in the world) – innovated the coastal property leasing with the Labadee exclusive resort (northern Haiti), “the Alaskan land and sea tours” (the glass-domed train cars), feature on-board facilities (rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, the “Viking Crown” top-of-the-ship lounge). The owner of the “Largest cruise ship in the world” (1988, 1999, 2006, 2009, 2010). Owns the Bahamian island CocoCay (Little Stirrup Cay). The company’s previous name after the merge with Celebrity was “Royal Caribbean Cruise Line”, and is the feature brand in the RCCL’s family. Royal Caribbean company.|
|Star Cruises website (1993, Hong Kong, a total of 23 ships, over 35,000 berths, operates 4 bigger cruise ships) – the world’s 3rd-largest line, the leader in Asia-Pacific region, fully owns “Cruise Feries” (Wasa Queen ship, 1-night gambling cruises from Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur), and the half of NCL, a subsidiary of Genting Group, Malaysia.|
Major cruise companies
These cruise line companies are big, but not the biggest. They are some of the best, but offer something that’s top best. They are from the list of the world’s best renown big ship luxury cruise lines, and some more affordable cruise shipping lines with bigger to biggest vessels dominating their local markets.
|AIDA Kreuzfahrten/AIDA Cruises (1960 as Deutsche Seereederei, 12 ships, including 3 future) – oriented towards the German-speaking market, with mostly younger clientele. AIDA was a subsidiary first of P&O Princess Cruises plc (2000), and since 2003 is a brand name in the Carnival Group.|
|Azamara Club (since 2007, 2 premium ships) – cheap affordable all-inclusive, with over-night port stays, owned by RCCL.|
|CDF Croisières de France (2007, Norwegian-American, subsidiary of Pullmantur Cruises, 2 medium size chartered passenger ships) – operates the French-speaking market exclusively, with Med voyages (from Marseille, during summer/late Fall), founded and owned by RCCL. Fleet – mv Horizon and mv Zenith (for CDF in 2014).|
|Compagnie du Ponant (1988, Marseille, France), owned by Bridgepoint Capital – an European private equity fund). Owns 5 ships.|
|Coral Expeditions (until 2015 known as “Coral Princess Cruises” /estd 1984 by Capt Tony Briggs) is a small ship cruise line operating the vessels Coral Expeditions I, Coral Expeditions II and Coral Discoverer (flagship). The line’s ships (capacity 44-72 pax) operate on adventure cruise 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.|
|Crystal Cruises (1988, Century City LA) – most expensive cruise line, with 2 top-luxury ships all-inclusive (capacity about 1,000 passengers), a subsidiary of the NYK Line (Japanese shipping company, one of the largest in the world). The Crystal line is awarded “Best” for almost 2 decades now. The line was sold in 2015 to GHK (Genting Hong Kong corporation) for US $550 mill. The new owner will order a new luxury ship to be build.|
|Oceania Cruises (2002, Miami FL, 5 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.|
|P&O Cruises (since 1837, British-American line, Southampton, UK, 8 large cruise ships, including the largest built for the UK market) – Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. P and O cruise lines.|
|P&O Cruises Australia (4 big passenger ships in Australia New Zealand, including 2 of the ex Ocean Village line) – a division of “P&O Princess Cruises plc” (Carnival plc), headquarters North Sydney, New South Wales, AU, owned by Carnival Corporation & plc.|
|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, top luxury cruise line all inclusive (“the most all-inclusive” – alcohol, shore excursions, tips) , 3 fully refurbished smaller cruise ships “all-suite, all-balcony”, with the first Canyon Ranch Spa at sea.|
|Seabourn Line (1986, Miami FL) – luxury world ship cruise line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc, with 6 smaller all-suite cruise ships all-inclusive – 3 second hand, and 3 newly built, with some of the largest Spa at sea, and up to 4 alternative dining venues.|
|Silversea Cruises (1994, Ft Lauderdale FL) – 6 top luxury all-inclusive ships (including 1 small expedition ship), providing the “Personalized Voyages” concept (guests choose their own embarkation /disembarkation ports, with a min of 5 nights, daily rates, all-suite accommodations).|
|Star Clippers (luxury tall sailing ships) for Mediterranean, Caribbean, Northern Europe and Panama Canal/Transatlantic.|
|Voyages Of Antiquity – 1 ship (MV Aegean Odyssey) for Mediterranean boutique-style cultural travel.|
|Windstar (1984, top luxury Tall-Sailing ship cruise company) – tall ship Mediterranean vacations (summer) and Caribbean and Pacific (winter), owned by Xanterra Parks and Resorts” (since May, 2011).|
Best cruise companies list
All these ship cruise travel companies (and “ferry-cruise” 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.
|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).|
|Blue Lagoon Cruises (Australia) – 2 ships for Fiji Cruises roundtrip from Denarau.|
|Captain Cook Cruises (Australia) – 1 ship (ms Murray Princess) for Murray River, Great Barrier Reef, Fiji.|
|Celebration Line (2008, 1 ship, Riviera Beach FL) – 2-day Bahamas from Florida, Palm Beach. The line is the successor of the “Imperial Majesty Cruise Line”, the MS Bahamas Celebration ship has capacity for 890 guests and 600 cars.|
|Classic International (classicintcruises.com, founded 1985, British-Australian, Neutral Bay, Australia). Have 5 top luxury passenger ships, including the MS Athena ship – a fully rebuilt ocean liner from 1948.|
|Coral Princess Cruises (Australia) – 3 ships (Oceanic Discoverer, and 2 big catamarans – Coral Princess & Coral Princess II) – for Australia and South Pacific cruises.|
|Cruise & Maritime Voyages (2009, Dartford UK, serves the British market exclusively) – 2 smaller adults-only cruise ships, including the chartered MS Marco Polo ship of Global Maritime. CMV cruises.|
|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 the Fred Olsen Group (luxury hotels, real estates, property development, aviation, crewing and building ships). Fred Olsen cruise lines.|
|GAP Adventures (1990, Toronto, Canada, the MS Expedition ship) – the largest cruise ship company in Canada, with more than 1,000 adventure sea ship travel tours per year, to over 100 countries.|
|Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten (since 1970, Hamburg, Germany, 5 smaller best luxury ships, including 2 future vessels) – the owner of the worlds most expensive cruise ship MS Europa, and also the new MS Europa 2; a brand of Hapag-Lloyd company (Hapag-Lloyd AG). Since 1998, the line 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.|
|Hellenic Seaways (Piraeus, Greec) Aegean and Adriatic cruise passenger and ferry services.|
|Hurtigruten /Norwegian Coastal Express (since 1893, 13 vessels) – passenger cruise and freight line, operates 10-night round-trips of Norway (referred to as “World’s Most Beautiful Sea Voyage”), also to Antarctica, Greenland, and around South America. The Hurtigruten ships sails from 38 ports in Norway alone.|
|IberoCruceros /Ibero Cruises (2007, British-American-Spanish, Madrid, Spain) – 4 big vessels for the Spanish and Portuguese market (operates Europe and South America). Owned by Carnival and Orizonia Corporacion (the 3rd largest tour operator in Spain).|
|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:
|Kristina Cruises (1985, family-owned, Kotka, Finland) – one ship (MS Kristina Katarina) for Mediterranean and 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”) – leader in adventure sea voyages, 5 private and 6 chartered small ships, including river boats (28-148 passengers). The founders of eco-tourism, the best academic and enrichment programs at sea by numerous and superb naturalists. Also sails Galapagos, Arctic, Antarctica, Baja California, Central America, Peruvian Amazon, Mediterranean and Northern Europe, Egypt, West Africa, and 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. The Louis / Celestyal cruise company operates mainly 2nd and 3rd hand charter vessels, often sub-chartered to other companies. The new cruise line’s fleet consists of the ships Celestyal Crystal (Louis Cristal), Celestyal Olympia (Louis Olympia) and Louis Aura.|
|Mano Maritime (1966, Haifa, Israel) owned by Mano Holdings Ltd (cargo shipping), 2 ships for Israel.|
|Metropolitan Touring () owns and operates all three Galapagos Islands luxury cruise yachts – MV Santa Cruz (90 pax), Isabella II (40 pax) and La Pinta (48 pax).|
|Orion Expedition Cruises /OEC (2004, Australian luxury line, 1 small ship (mv Orion) – operates Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, Far East of Russia, and Japan.|
|Paul Gauguin Cruises (1998, Bellevue, WA, USA) – 1 small ship (ms Paul Gauguin) for Galapagos Islands, year-round.|
|Pearl Seas Cruises (new line) – 2 ships (Pearl Mist/2014, and TBA/2016), regions US Great Lakes, the Canadian Maritimes, Caribbean Islands|
|Peter Deilmann Cruises (Neustadt, Germany) was a German line with 1 ocean liner (MS Deutschland) for South America, operated with fly-cruise deals from Germany. The Peter Deilmann line is defunct (since 2015). The ship was bought by Plantours Kreuzfahrten and chartered to Semester at Sea (global study, non-profit program sponsored by University of Virginia) as MS Hamburg.|
|Phoenix Reisen (1988, Germany) – operates 4 chartered passenger ships of smaller sizes, plus 1 from P&O.|
|Polar Star Expeditions – 1 ship (mv Polar Star, a converted icebreaker) for Artica & Antarctica.|
|Portuscale Cruises (founded 2013, owner Rui Alegre) is a Portuguese maritime cruise company based in Lisbon. The list of the company’s 4 ships (all from the defunct Classic International Cruises fleet) includes: MV Azores (1948), MV Lisboa (1955), MV Funchal (1961), and MV Porto (1965).|
|Pullmantur (1993, luxury all-inclusive line, Madrid, Spain, 5 big ships) – the largest Spanish cruise line, a subsidiary of RCCL since 2006.|
|Quark Expeditions (1991) – for luxury Arctic & Antarctic cruises, ships – 50 Years of Victory (the 1st purpusfully build ice-class/nuclear-powered icebreaker cruise ship), Sea Spirit, Ocean Diamond.|
|ResidenSea (top luxury ship operator) – operating ms The World ship.|
|Saga Cruises/SAGA Holidays (estd 1996, Canterbury, England) – 2 ships for the UK market (Saga Ruby, Saga Sapphire), also owns the 1-ship brand “Spirit of Adventure Cruises”. Saga Holidays Cruise line.|
|Silja Line (estd 1957, Helsinki, Finland) – ferry-cruise company (car & passenger services between Sweden and Finland. Fleet of 4 ships (over 3 mill passengers & more than 200,00 cars annually.|
|Swan Hellenic (estd 1955, Burgess Hill UK) – MV Minerva Antarctic expedition ship, historical and cultural themed Eastern Med sailings. Swan Hellenic line.|
|The Boat Company (founded 1979 non-profit line and educational organization by McIntosh Foundation, in “Alaska Small”).|
|Thomson Cruises (estd 1995) by Thomson Holidays (1965, Luton UK) – cheap affordable deals from England by 5 passenger ships, a subsidiary of TUI Travel PLC. Thomson Holidays cruise line.|
|Transocean Tours (1954, chartered ships for the German market) – operates 6 smaller oceanic ships and 5 river boats.|
|TUI (2007, Hamburg Germany, operates 2 large passenger ships to Caribbean, Baltic, Med, and the Canaries) – premium cruising to the German-speaking market exclusively. Owned by RCCL and TUI AG.|
|Virgin Holidays Cruises (aka “Virgin Cruises”) is subsidiary brand line of Virgin Holidays Ltd (travel brand, owned by Virgin Group). Virgin Group is a huge 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 is UK cruise line company (headquartered in Crawley /Sussex, England), which owns 3 vessels (each weights 110,000 GT, with capacity 2860 passengers and 1150 crew). The Virgin cruise line currently specializes in sea travel package deals using other lines’ ships.|
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.
|A-ROSA Cruises – 3 ships for Rhine, Danube & Rhone cruises.|
|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).|
|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 by the American Queen paddle ship.|
|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.|
|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).|
|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 website (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.|
|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).|
|Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection (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 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).|
NEW Cruise Lines
|“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.
|Sterling Cruise Lines is a new brand name established in 2015 (headquarters in Miami). This new line targets the Latin American cruising markets, and has 1 ship in operation – named Sterling Gemini. The ship’s itinerary program has year-round Caribbean cruises leaving from Aruba.|
|“fathom” (estd 2015 June) is a new cruise line brand owned by Carnival Corporation. The line is headquartered in USA (Doral city /Miami-Dade County, Florida). The new company starts operations in April 2016, with only one vessel – the transferred from P&O UK’s fleet mv Adonia ship. The fathom cruise line offers “social impact travel” Caribbean cruises out of Miami (roundtrip to Dominican Republic), with duration of 7-days. The itineraries feature volunteer activities in cooperation with organizations ashore.|
|Viking Ocean Cruises (std 2015 April) is a sister-line to Viking River Cruises (see in the above table). Both brand companies are owned by Torstein Hagan. The Viking Ocean line started operations ordering all four new cruise vessels (named Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Sun) all built by the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. Along with their all-inclusive deals, Viking Ocean ships have many other features and amenities resembling their riverboat fleetmates. Among those are the alfresco lounge Aquavit, the observation lounge Explorers, the price-inclusive Wi-Fi, shore excursions, wines and beers (at lunch and dinner). Viking Ocean cruise itineraries are in Europe exclusively, with various one-way voyages to ports in the Mediterranean and Baltic seas.|
|Blue Star Line (estd 1911, operational until 1998) was a cargo and passenger shipping line based in the UK (headquartered in London, England). This is also the name of the Australian billionaire Clive Palmer’s cruise line with one ship under construction – Titanic II. The Titanic 2 project is highly controversial due to the vessel’s very construction. With a contract to be build in China (Nanjing, at the CSC Jinling shipyard), the planned delivery was for 2016, but many doubt the new Titanic ship would ever be built. As of 2015, the project is still in its inception phase, and no actual work has been done at the shipbuilding yard.|
You can share/like/rate our cruise ship companies list via the social buttons. We will continue to update our lines list in all the tables here, adding more line companies. Soon we will also add third and fourth columns with the lines’ current fleets (ships names) and their sailing destinations. So you, guys, don’t feel like strangers and come visit ShipCruise again soon!