Cruise line
A cruise line is a company that operates cruise ship
Cruise ship
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way...

s. Cruise lines have a dual character; they are partly in the transportation business, and partly in the leisure entertainment business, a duality that carries down into the ships themselves, which have both a crew headed by the ship's captain, and a hospitality staff headed by the equivalent of a hotel manager
Hotel manager
A hotel manager or hotelier is a person who holds a management occupation within a hotel, motel, or resort establishment. Management titles and duties vary by company. In some hotels the title hotel manager or hotelier may solely be referred to the General Manager of the hotel...


Among cruise lines, some are direct descendants of the traditional passenger shipping lines, while others were founded from the 1960s on specifically for cruising. The business is 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 consolidation in the 1990s has led to many lines existing only as "brands" within larger corporations, much as a single automobile company produces several makes of cars. Brands exist partly because of repeat customer loyalty, and also to offer different levels of quality and service. For instance, Carnival Corporation owns both Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines is a British-American owned cruise line, based in Doral, Florida, a suburb of Miami in the United States. Originally an independent company founded in 1972 by Ted Arison, the company is now one of eleven cruise ship brands owned and operated by Carnival Corporation & plc...

, whose former image were vessels that had a reputation as "party ships" for younger travellers, but have become large, modern, and extremely elegant, yet still profitable, and Holland America Line
Holland America Line
The Holland America Line is a cruise shipping company. It was founded in 1873 as the Netherlands-America Steamship Company , a shipping and passenger line. Headquartered in Rotterdam and providing service to the Americas, it became known as Holland America Line...

, whose ships cultivate an image of classic elegance.

Currently the five largest cruise line operators in the world are Carnival Corporation & plc
Carnival Corporation & plc
Carnival Corporation & plc , is a American-British Company, and the world's largest cruise ship operator. It is a dual listed company, with headquarters at Carnival Place in the Miami suburb of Doral, Florida, USA, and at Carnival House in Southampton, England, UK...

, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a Norwegian / American company based in Miami, Florida. It is the world's second-largest cruise line operator, after Carnival Corporation & PLC. As of March 2009, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd...

, Star Cruises
Star Cruises
Star Cruises , a member of Genting Hong Kong, is the sixth largest cruise line in the world behind companies such as Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises...

, MSC Cruises and Louis Cruise Lines
Louis Cruise Lines
Louis Cruises is a Cyprus-based cruise line that operates cruises from Cyprus, France, Italy, India and Greece . The company also charters several ships to Thomson Cruises...


See also

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