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A cruise line is a company that operates cruise ships that operate on ocean or rivers and which markets cruises to the public. Cruise lines are distinct from passenger lines which are primarily concerned with transportation of passengers. Though cruise packages provided by cruise lines vary, there are some features most have in common, such as accommodation, all meals and entertainment. They may include alcohol and shore excursions, sometimes on additional payment.
Among cruise lines, some are direct descendants of the traditional passenger lines, while others were founded since the 1960s specifically for cruising. The business has been extremely volatile; the ships are massive capital expenditures with very high operating costs, and a slight dip in bookings can easily put a company out of business. Cruise lines frequently sell, renovate, or simply rename their ships just to keep up with travel trends.
A wave of failures and consolidations in the 1990s has led to many companies being bought by much larger holding companies and to operate as "brands" within larger corporations. Brands exist partly because of repeat customer loyalty, and also to offer different levels of quality and service. For instance, Carnival Corporation & plc owns both Carnival Cruise Line, whose former image were vessels that had a reputation as "party ships" for younger travellers, but have become large, modern, yet still profitable, and Holland America Line, whose ships cultivate an image of classic elegance.
A common practice in the cruise industry in listing cruise ship transfers and orders is to list the smaller operating company, not the larger holding corporation, as the recipient cruise line of the sale, transfer, or new order. For example, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line are the cruise lines whereas Carnival Corporation & plc and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. are considered holding corporations . This industry practice of using the brand, not the larger holding corporation, as the cruise line is also followed in the member cruise lines in Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the member-based reviews of cruise lines.
List of largest cruise lines
The cruise industry is estimated to be around US$45.6 billion with around 26 million passengers annually. The following is a list of the largest cruise lines with over 1,000 passengers annually and their market share by passengers and revenue as of 2018 according to Cruise Market Watch. The list also includes the combined market share of each of the cruise line holding companies: Carnival Corporation & plc, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and Genting Hong Kong.
- Bold: Major cruise company
- Italic: Not owned by a major cruise company
|Cruise line||Parent company||Passengers
|Passengers %||Revenue %|
|Carnival Corporation & plc||12,302.30||18,305.16||47.4%||39.4%|
|Carnival Cruise Line||Carnival Corporation & plc||5,716.5||4,166.89||22%||8.9%|
|Princess Cruises||Carnival Corporation & plc||1,667.5||4,228.85||6.4%||9.1%|
|Costa Cruises||Carnival Corporation & plc||1,560.6||2,235.62||6%||4.8%|
|AIDA Cruises||Carnival Corporation & plc||1,183.7||2,128.28||4.6%||4.6%|
|Holland America Line||Carnival Corporation & plc||831.5||2,589.60||3.2%||5.6%|
|P&O Cruises||Carnival Corporation & plc||623.4||1,031.85||2.4%||2.2%|
|P&O Cruises Australia||Carnival Corporation & plc||499.6||548.02||1.9%||1.2%|
|Cunard Line||Carnival Corporation & plc||169.6||823.79||0.7%||1.8%|
|Seabourn Cruise Line||Carnival Corporation & plc||49.9||552.26||0.2%||1.2%|
|Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.||5,963.80||9,389.80||23%||20.2%|
|Royal Caribbean International||Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.||4,987.0||6,525.18||19.2%||14%|
|Celebrity Cruises||Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.||909.5||2,447.45||3.5%||5.3%|
|Azamara Cruises||Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.||67.3||417.17||0.3%||0.9%|
|Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings||2,471.20||5,833.20||9.5%||12.6%|
|Norwegian Cruise Line||Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings||2,269.8||3,897.80||8.7%||8.4%|
|Oceania Cruises||Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings||132.5||1,057.97||0.5%||2.3%|
|Regent Seven Seas Cruises||Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings||68.9||877.43||0.3%||1.9%|
|MSC Cruises||Mediterranean Shipping Company||3,010||4,108.00||10.2%||9.8%|
|Genting Hong Kong||525.80||2,309.02||2.1%||5%|
|Dream Cruises||Genting Hong Kong||258.1||1,024.45||1%||2.2%|
|Star Cruises||Genting Hong Kong||227.6||722.72||0.9%||1.6%|
|Crystal Cruises||Genting Hong Kong||40.1||561.85||0.2%||1.2%|
|Disney Cruise Line||Disney Parks, Experiences and Products||589.5||1,006.77||2.3%||2.2%|
|TUI Cruises||TUI AG (50%)
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (50%)
|Pullmantur Cruises||Other Springwater Capital (51%)
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (50%)
|Cruise & Maritime Voyages||Other||122.9||487.95||0.5%||1%|
|Celestyal Cruises||Louis PLC||118.8||377.17||0.5%||0.8%|
|Marella Cruises||TUI AG||106.4||338.00||0.4%||0.7%|
|Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines||Bonheur||106.2||156.31||0.4%||0.3%|
|Silversea Cruises||Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (67%)
|Hapag-Lloyd Cruises||Hapag-Lloyd AG||72.3||147.21||0.3%||0.3%|
|Compagnie du Ponant||Artémis||51.1||185.77||0.2%||0.4%|
|Windstar Cruises||The Anschutz Corporation||46.9||186.32||0.2%||0.4%|
|Saga Cruises||Saga plc||30.8||97.88||0.1%||0.2%|
|Star Clippers||Star Clippers Ltd||21.6||85.57||0.1%||0.2%|
|American Cruise Lines||Other||19.9||68.31||0.1%||0.1%|
|Voyages to Antiquity||Other||11.5||45.73||>0.0%||0.1%|
|Paul Gauguin Cruises||Other||9.8||38.71||>0.0%||0.1%|
|SeaDream Yacht Club||Other||8.6||33.99||>0.0%||0.1%|
|Blount Small Ship Adventures||Other||5.9||23.31||>0.0%||0.1%|
|Orion Expedition Cruises||Other||5.1||20.32||>0.0%||>0.0%|
|Grand Circle Cruise Line||Other||3.8||12.15||>0.0%||>0.0%|
|Hebridean Island Cruises||Other||1.4||2.13||>0.0%||>0.0%|
- List of cruise lines
- List of largest cruise lines
- List of cruise ships
- List of largest cruise ships
- Cruising (maritime)
- "Cruise line definition". Travel industry dictionary. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Ship sales and transfers". Cruise industry news. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Cruise ship orderbook". Cruise Industry News. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Member Cruise Lines". Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Member reviews of cruise lines". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "2018 Worldwide Cruise Line Market Share". Cruise Market Watch. Retrieved 3 January 2019.