Who Owns Your Favorite Cruise Line? Cruise Operators Guide
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You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered who owns your favorite cruise line.
It’s fascinating to peek behind the screen and learn who owns your favorite brands. It’s like discovering that Lamborghini is owned by Volkswagen or Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is owned by Unilever.
You might be surprised to find that the same holds true in the cruise industry.
There are three major cruise companies that dominate the industry.
The big three are:
Combined, these three companies make up almost 75% of the cruise industry traffic.
But, there are several independent cruise lines, such as MSC Cruises and Virgin Voyages.
Read below to find out who owns your favorite cruise line.
Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise operator, employing over a hundred ships across nine cruise lines.
Around 50% of cruise passengers sail with a Carnival-owned each year. And the company’s namesake, Carnival Cruise Line, is the largest cruise line in the world by passenger volume.
The company owns mainstream cruise lines like Carnival, Princess, and Holland America. Along with the luxurious Cunard Line and ultra-luxury line Seabourn.
Additionally, Carnival owns brands that cater to specific markets. Costa Cruises caters to the Italian market, AIDA is for the German market, and there’s P&O UK and P&O Australia.
The following cruise lines are owned by Carnival Corporation & PLC:
Royal Caribbean Group is the second-largest cruise corporation. Their portfolio of cruise lines serves around 25% of cruise passengers every year.
The parent company began with its namesake cruise line, Royal Caribbean International. (Source)
Like Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean acquired several independent cruise lines beginning with Celebrity Cruises in 1997.
Celebrity Cruises provides what could best be described as big ship luxury. The line offers passengers an upscale yet traditional form of cruising.
In 2007, Royal Caribbean Group spun a new cruise line out of Celebrity Cruises named Azamara. The new line was comprised of smaller ships with a heavy emphasis on the destinations.
Royal Caribbean sold Azamara in 2021 to the private investment group Sycamore Partners.
In 2018, Royal Caribbean purchased a majority stake in ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea Cruises before completing the acquisition in July 2020.
The parent company also has a stake in TUI Cruises for the German market.
The following cruise lines are owned by Royal Caribbean Group:
Norwegian Cruise Line is the smallest of the “big three” cruise operators.
Despite its size, the brand operates three popular lines; Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas.
Norwegian Cruise Line is best known for their casual, “freestyle” approach to cruising.
They are popular for having no formal nights, no set dining times, and their popular “Free at Sea” promotions.
Their other two lines, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas offer ultra-luxury sailings. Both cruise lines feature smaller ships with upscale menus, inclusive pricing, opulent decor, and immersive experiences.
The following cruise lines are owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.:
A handful of cruise lines are independent – in the sense that they are not operated by a large cruise operator and are independent of other cruise lines.
For example, MSC Cruises is owned by MSC Group. MSC Group is a global shipping operator, but they don’t control more than one cruise line.
In the same sense, Disney Cruise Line is owned by Disney. But it’s independent of other cruise lines.
Virgin Voyages is a newcomer to the cruise industry. They are owned by a joint venture between Virgin Group and Bain Capital.
The following cruise lines are not associated with a major cruise line operator:
Carnival Cruise Line is owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise operator serving almost half of the yearly global cruise market.
Royal Caribbean International is owned by Royal Caribbean Group. Royal Caribbean Group is the world’s second-largest cruise operator after Carnival Corporation & plc.
Princess Cruises is owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. They merged with Carnival on April 17, 2003, in a deal worth US$5.4 billion.
Celebrity Cruises is owned by Royal Caribbean Group. The cruise line was acquired by Royal Caribbean Group in 1977. The parent company was formed as a holding company to keep both brands separate.
Norwegian Cruise Line is owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings LTD. The parent company is the world’s third-largest cruise operator after Carnival Corporation & plc and Royal Caribbean Group.
MSC Cruises is owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, MSC. MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately owned cruise line, accounting for around 6.5% of global passenger volume. (Source)
Holland America Line is owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. The cruise line was purchased by Carnival Corp in 1989.
Disney Cruise Line is owned by The Walt Disney Company. The subsidiary was created in 1996 as Magical Cruise Company Limited.
Virgin Voyages is owned as a joint venture between Virgin Group and Bain Capital.
Viking, formerly Viking Cruises, is owned by Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen. The cruise line has three divisions, Viking River Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises, and Viking Expeditions.