A Directory to Leisure, Luxury, and Expedition Ocean and Coastal Cruise Companies

In this article you will find:


16 Major Trends


3 Largest Cruise Companies


19 Smaller Cruise Companies


22 Cruise Lines and Their Ships

By Ronald L. Krannich, Ph.D.

The following directory identifies the major cruise lines and ships that define today’s ocean and coastal cruise industry (see the separate article on the river cruise industry). Here, the big three cruise companies are American (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian) that incorporate offshore but headquarter in the U.S. (mainly Miami) to avoid federal income taxes as well as U.S. labor laws and environmental regulations. These three companies alone control over 70% of all ocean cruising.

16 Major Trends

Major trends in the cruise industry are 16-fold:


  1. Steady growth in cruising over the past 20 years, with temporary closings due to the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020-2021 and an expected rebound for 2022-2023.


  2. Launching “mega ships” that can handle 4,500+ passengers and 1,700+ crew members.


  3. Focusing on destinations – especially the Caribbean and private islands and beaches – that can best handle mega ships.


  4. Expanding the variety of adrenaline-rushing cruise activities on the largest cruise ships — from roller coasters, extreme waterslides, rock climbing, and ice skating to ziplining, go-karting on deck, and skydiving simulations — to offering deep dive (600+ feet) onboard submarines and helicopters on luxury yachts and small cruise ships.


  5. Introducing more and more small luxury yachts and cruise ships (under 200 passengers) specializing in high-end expedition cruises to the polar regions and exotic, remote locations.


  6. Expanding technology throughout the cruise experience, from pre-boarding to room search to tracking cruise mates onboard to check out.


  7. Lessening the environmental impact of cruise ships by introducing more green technology, from LNG- and hybrid-powered electric ships to environmentally-friendly waste disposal systems and plastic-free cruising.


  8. Becoming more family-, senior-, and special needs-friendly.


  9. Expanding short 4-7 day budget cruises as well as offering lengthier (90+ day) around regions or around-the-world cruises.


  10. Expanding the number of theme (poker, music, hobby, sports, dancing, LGBT, nudist) and specialized (education, environmental, science) cruises.


  11. Combining cruise entertainment and education into a new form of cruise edutainment.


  12. Offering more and more all-inclusive options as ships finally respond to the nickeling-and-diming complaints of frequent-cruising clients.


  13. Expanding luxury, suite, and exclusive onboard experiences (special VIP enclaves) on all types of cruise ships.


  14. Modernizing port facilities with high tech cruise terminals and larger piers to handle mega ships.


  15. Offering more onshore opportunities, especially overnighting in ports with appealing activities and nightlife.


  16. Constantly refurbishing (every 3-5 years) existing fleets, selling off older ships to smaller operators, relocating older ships to smaller budget cruise departure ports (Jacksonville, Charleston, Mobile, Norfolk, Baltimore), building new high-tech ships, changing ownership (Azamara), and starting new luxury cruise lines and launching new luxury expedition ships (Atlas Ocean Voyages, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Emerald Azzurra, Swan Hellenic, Explora Journey, Scenic Eclipse II, Viking, and Seabourn)

The world’s three largest cruise companies and their subsidiaries are based in Miami, Florida and include the following:

CARNIVAL CORPORATION (includes 9 subsidiary cruise lines) 

  • AIDA Cruises (German)
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Costa Cruises
  • Cunard
  • P&O Cruises (Australia)
  • P&O Cruises (United Kingdom)
  • Princess Cruises
  • Holland America Cruises
  • Seabourn (luxury line)

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL (includes 4 subsidiary cruise lines)

  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Silversea Cruises (luxury line)
  • TUI Cruises (joint venture – 50%)

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS (includes 3 subsidiary cruise lines)

  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises (luxury line)

3 Largest Cruise Companies

19 Smaller Cruise Companies

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Atlas Ocean Voyages
  • Azamara 
  • Compagnie du Ponant (Paul Gauguin & Ponant — French)
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (German)
  • Hurtigruten (Norwegian)
  • Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic
  • MSC Cruises (Italian)
  • Quark Expeditions (United Kingdom)
  • Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
  • Saga Cruises (United Kingdom)
  • Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours (Australian)
  • SeaDream Yacht Club
  • Star Clipper (Swedish)
  • Swan Hellenic
  • Viking (Norwegian)
  • Virgin Voyages 
  • Windstar Cruises

22 Cruise Lines and Their Ships

     AMERICAN CRUISE LINES (fleet of modern riverboats, paddlewheelers, and small cruise ships; company specializes in coastal and river cruises with Viking Cruises becoming a major river cruise competitor in the U.S.)

    Independent Class Coastal Ships

    Consolidation Coastal Ships

    Modern Riverboats

    Authentic Paddlewheelers

ATLAS OCEAN VOYAGES (new high-end all-inclusive luxury brand; owned by MystiInvest Holdings; ships hold just under 200 guests; first ocean cruise line to sail under the Portuguese flag)

  • Navigator (built 2021/98 staterooms & suites/198 passengers/125 crew)
  • Traveller (TBA/build 2022/98 staterooms & suites/198 passengers/125 crew)
  • Seeker (TBA/build 2024/98 staterooms & suites/198 passengers/125 crew)
  • Adventurer (TBA/build 2025/98 staterooms & suites/198 passengers/125 crew)
  • Discoverer (TBA/build 2025/98 staterooms & suites/198 passengers/125 crew)

AZAMARA (upmarket boutique cruise line similar to Oceania Cruises; previously owned by RCL – changed ownership in 2021 when equity firm Sycamore Partners purchased Azamara for $201 million)

  • Azamara Journey (built 2000/388 staterooms & suites/690 passengers/408 crew)
  • Azamara Pursuit (built 2001/388 staterooms & suites/690 passengers/408 crew) 
  • Azamara Quest (built 2000/388 staterooms & suites/690 passengers/408 crew)
  • Azamara Onward (built 1999/acquired & refurbished 2021/formerly Pacific Princess, a 1999 Renaissance Cruises ship – other 3 Azamara ships also 1999 Renaissance Cruises ships – same as some Oceania ships)

CARNIVAL CORPORATION (world’s largest cruise line operator with 87 ships visiting 700+ ports each year; 16 new ships scheduled for delivery through 2025; hosts 13 million guests annually; 325,000 people sail fleet every single day = 85 million passenger cruise days a year; $20.8 billion revenue in 2019)

     AIDA CRUISES (German)



  • Costa Deliziosa (built 2010/1,184 staterooms/2,826 passengers/954 crew)
  • Costa Diadema (built 2014/1,937 staterooms/4,947 passengers/1,253 crew)
  • Costa Fascinosa (built 2111/1,570 staterooms/3,800 passengers/1,110 crew)
  • Costa Favolosa (built 2111/1,570 staterooms/3,800 passengers/951 crew) 
  • Costa Firenze (built 2020/2,138 staterooms/4,272 passengers/will transfer to Carnival in 2024 and be renamed Carnival Firenze)
  • Costa Fortuna (built 2003/1,344 staterooms/3,470 passengers/893 crew)
  • Costa Pacifica (built 2004/1,570 staterooms/2,780 passengers/1,110 crew)
  • Costa Smeralda (built 2019/2,612 staterooms/5,282 passengers/1,678 crew)
  • Costa Toscana (built 2021/2,641 staterooms/6,554 passengers/1,678 crew)


  • Queen Mary 2 (built 2004 as a heavy duty ocean liner for transatlantic crossing/1,527 staterooms & suites/2,691 passengers/1,292  crew)
  • Queen Victoria (built 2007/1,130 staterooms & suites/2,061 passengers/981 crew)
  • Queen Elizabeth (built 2010/1,145 staterooms & suites/2,081 passengers/1,005 crew)
  • Queen Anne (build 2024/1,397 staterooms & suites/2,996 passengers/1,225 crew)

     P&O CRUISES (Australia)

    P&O CRUISES (UK)   

  • Iona (built 2020 – first LNG powered/2,614 staterooms/5,200 passengers/1,800 crew)
  • Ventura (built 2008/1,556 staterooms/3,078 passengers/1,205 crew)
  • Azura (built 2010/1,557 staterooms/3,100 passengers/1,250 crew)
  • Britannia (built 2015/1,837 staterooms/3,647 passengers/1,350 crew)
  • Aurora (built 2019/962 staterooms/1,874 passengers/860 crew) – adults only
  • Arcadia (built 2005/1,003 staterooms/2,094 passengers/866 crew) – adults only


     HOLLAND AMERICA LINE (noted for its music theme, Lincoln Center Jazz, food, and senior-friendly vibe)

  • Rotterdam (built 2021/1,495 staterooms/2,668 passengers/1,036 crew)
  • Eurodam (built 2008/1,136 staterooms/2,104 passengers/876 crew)
  • Koningsdam (built 2016/1,495 staterooms/2,650 passengers/1,136 crew)
  • Nieuw Amsterdam (built 2010/1,136 staterooms/2,106 passengers/874 crew)
  • Nieuw Statendam (built 2018/1,495 staterooms/2,666 passengers/1,036 crew)
  • Noordam (built 2006/1,086 staterooms/1,972 passengers/811 crew)
  • Oosterdam (built 2003/1,086 staterooms/1,964 passengers/812 crew)
  • Volendam (built 1999/917 staterooms/1,432 passengers/604 crew) 
  • Westerdam (built 2004/1,086 staterooms/1,964 passengers/812 crew)
  • Zaandam (built 2000/917 staterooms/1,432 passengers/694 crew)
  • Zuiderdam (built 2002/1,086 staterooms/1,964 passengers/812 crew)

     SEABOURN (one of top 7 luxury cruise lines—nearly all-inclusive)

  • Odyssey (built 2009/229 suites/450 passengers/330 crew)
  • Sojourn (built 2010/229 suites/450 passengers/330 crew)
  • Quest (built 2011/229 suites/450 passengers/330 crew)
  • Encore (built 2016/302 suites/604 passengers/500 crew)
  • Ovation (built 2018/302 suites/604 passengers/500 crew)
  • Pursuit (built 2023/132 suites/264 passengers/120 crew/expedition luxury cruiser with 2 submarines)
  • Venture – Expedition cruiser (built 2021/132 suites/264 passengers/120 crew)

 COMPAGNIE DU PONANT (one of top 7 luxury cruise lines—nearly all-inclusive)

    PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES (165 staterooms & suites/330 passengers/217 crew)

    PONANT (11 ships)

  • Le Ponant (sailing ship/16 staterooms & suites/32 passengers/34 crew)

         BOREAL CLASS (132 staterooms & suites/264 passengers/140 crew)

         EXPLORER CLASS (92 staterooms & suites/184 passengers/112 crew)

DISNEY CRUISE LINE (4 ships; owns Castaway Cay, a private island in the Bahamas used as an exclusive port of call for Disney’s ships; second private destination, Lighthouse Point, Bahamas, 700-acre property on the southern end of Eleuthera, Bahamas  (open late 2022 or early 2023); Disney Cruise Line Terminal  (Terminal 8) in Port Canaveral, Florida

  • Disney Magic (built 1996/899 staterooms/2,700 passengers/950 crew)
  • Disney Wonder (built 1999/899 staterooms/2,700 passengers/950 crew)
  • Disney Dream (built 2011/1,291 staterooms/4,000 passengers/1,458 crew)
  • Disney Fantasy (built 2012/1,291 staterooms/4,000 passengers/1,458 crew)

     NEW DISNEY WISH SHIPS FOR 2022, 2024 & 2025 (3 Triton Class Ships)

  • Disney Wish (build 2024/1,258 staterooms/4,000 passengers/1,458 crew)
  • Disney Treasure (build 2024/1,258 staterooms/4,000 passengers/1,458 crew)
  • TBA (build 2025)

HAPAG-LLOYD CRUISES (Hamburg-based German luxury/expedition cruise company; one of top 7 luxury cruise lines—nearly all-inclusive)

  • MS Europa (built 1999/204 staterooms/408 passengers/275 crew)
  • MS Europa 2 (built 2013/251 staterooms/516 passengers/370 crew)
  • Hanseatic Inspiration (expedition/ German- and English-speaking/built 2019/120 staterooms/199 passengers/170 crew)
  • Hanseatic Nature (expedition/German-speaking only/built 2019/120 staterooms/199 passengers/170 crew)
  • Hanseatic Spirit (expedition/German-speaking only/built 2021/120 staterooms/199 passengers/170 crew)

HURTIGRUTEN (125 years of experience; specializes in polar expeditions; several ships carry cars and are converted ferries; Norwegian)

  • MS Fram (built 2003/137 staterooms/276 passengers/75 crew)
  • MS Kong Harald (built 1993/227 staterooms/474 passengers/70 crew)
  • MS Maud (built 2003/301 staterooms/638 passengers/75 crew)
  • MS Nordkapp (built 1996/218 staterooms/458 passengers/70 crew)
  • MS Nordlys (built 1994/223 staterooms/469 passengers/70 crew)
  • MS Nordnorge (built 1997/250 staterooms/591 passengers/67 crew)
  • MS Otto Sverdrup (built 2002/263 staterooms/526 passengers/75 crew)
  • MS Polarlys (built 1995/291 staterooms/619 passengers/64 crew)
  • MS Richard With (built 1993/219 staterooms/464 passengers/70 crew)
  • MS Spitsbergen (built 2009/180 staterooms/335 passengers/80 crew)
  • MS Trollfjord (built 2002/301 staterooms/638 passengers/75 crew)
  • MS Roald Amundsen (built 2018 as hybrid-powered/265 staterooms/530 passengers/150 crew)
  • MS Fridtjob Nansen (built 2020 as hybrid-powered/265 staterooms/530 passengers/150 crew)

LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (fleet includes a combination of small – 28 to 148 passenger — ocean expedition and river cruise ships and boats)

 MSC CRUISES (4th largest cruise company – 7.2% of all passengers)

  • MSC Armonia (built 2001/976 staterooms/2,520 passengers/780 crew)
  • MSC Sinfonia (built 2002/980 staterooms/2,546 passengers/721 crew)
  • MSC Lirica (built 2003/922 staterooms/2,548 passengers/752 crew)
  • MSC Opera (built 2004/1,071 staterooms/2,579 passengers/721 crew)

     MUSICA CLASS (1,275+)

  • MSC Musica (built 2006/1,275 staterooms/3,013 passengers/987 crew)
  • MSC Orchestra (built 2007/1,275 staterooms/3,013 passengers/987 crew)
  • MSC Poesia (built 2008/1,275 staterooms/3,013 passengers/987 crew)
  • MSC Magnifica (built 2010/1,275 staterooms/3,013 passengers/987 crew)

     FANTASIA CLASS (4,345+)

  • MSC Fantasia (built 2008/1,637 staterooms/4,363 passengers/1,370 crew)
  • MSC Splendida (built 2009/1,637 staterooms/4,363 passengers/1,370 crew)
  • MSC Divina (built 2012/1,751 staterooms/4,345 passengers/1,388 crew)
  • MSC Preziosa (built 2013/1,751 staterooms/4,345 passengers/1,388 crew)

     MERAVIGLIA CLASS (5,642+)

  • MSC Meraviglia (built 2017/2,214 staterooms/5,642 passengers/1,608 crew)
  • MSC Bellissima (built 2019/2,201 staterooms/5,655 passengers/1,595 crew)
  • MSC Grandiosa (built 2019/2,421 staterooms/6,334 passengers/1,704 crew)
  • MSC Virtuosa (built 2020/2,421 staterooms/6,334 passengers/1,704 crew)

     SEASIDE CLASS (5,079+)

  • MSC Seaside (built 2017/2,026 staterooms/5,079 passengers/1,513 crew)
  • MSC Seaview (built 2018/2,026 staterooms/5,079 passengers/1,513 crew)
  • MSC Seashore (built 2021/2,270 staterooms/5,632 passengers/1,648 crew)
  • MSC World Europa (build 2022/LNG/2,700 staterooms/5,400 passengers/1,575 crew)
  • MSC Seascape (build 2023/2,027 staterooms/5,877 passengers/1,648 crew)

     MSC EXPLORA JOURNEYS (Luxury Brand)

  • Explora I (built 2023/461 cabins/900 passengers/700 crew/yacht-style luxury cruise ship)

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS (3rd largest cruise line; visits 300+ ports)


     OCEANIA CRUISES (upmarket boutique cruise line similar class to Azamara Cruises)


  • Marina (built 2011/625 staterooms & suites/1,250 passengers/800 crew)
  • Riviera (built 2012/625 staterooms & suites/1,250 passengers/800 crew)
  • Vista (built 2023/621 staterooms & suites/1,200 passengers/800 crew)


  • Regatta (built 1998/349 staterooms & suites/684 passengers/400 crew)
  • Insignia (built 1998/349 staterooms & suites/684 passengers/400 crew)
  • Nautica (built 2000/349 staterooms & suites/684 passengers/400 crew)
  • Sirena (built 1999/349 staterooms & suites/684 passengers/400 crew)

     REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES (one of top 7 luxury cruise lines—most all-inclusive cruise line)

QUARK EXPEDITIONS (specializes in expedition cruises to the Arctic and Antarctic, including Northwest Passage, Canada’s High Arctic, Greenland, North Pole; part of TUI UK group)




ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL (world’s second largest cruise line operator)





         EDGE CLASS


     SILVERSEA CRUISES (one of top 7 luxury cruise lines—nearly all-inclusive)

     TUI CRUISES (British-German joint venture — 50% ownership)


SCENIC LUXURY CRUISES & TOURS (Australian, mainly offer river cruises but also 2 yacht-style ocean cruise experiences)

  • Scenic Eclipse – (built 2019/114 all-balcony staterooms/228 passengers/176 crew; expedition — submarine & helicopter — first ocean going ship for the Scenic Group)
  • Scenic Eclipse II – (built 2023/114 all-balcony staterooms/228 passengers/176 crew; expedition — submarine & helicopter — second ocean going ship for the Scenic Group)

 SEADREAM YACHT CLUB (founder also founded Seabourn; operate older Seabourn ships – 95 passengers each)

 STAR CLIPPERS (fleet of tall sailing ships)

  • Star Clipper (built 19921/85 cabins/170 passengers/72 crew)
  • Star Flyer (built 1991/85 cabins/170 passengers/72 crew)
  • Royal Clipper (built 2000/112 cabins/227 passengers/106 crew)


  • SH Diana  (built 2023/96 cabins/192 passengers/141 crew) 
  • SH Minerva (built 2023/76 cabins/152 passengers/120 crew) 
  • SH Vega (built 2022/76 cabins/152 passengers/120 crew) 

 VIKING CRUISES (no children or teenagers under 18; all veranda ships)

  • Viking Jupiter (built 2019/465 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)
  • Viking Mars (build 2022/465 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)
  • Viking Neptune (build 2022/464 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)
  • Viking Orion (built 2018/465 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)
  • Viking Saturn (built 2023/465 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)
  • Viking Sea (built 2016/465 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)
  • Viking Sky (built 2017/465 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)
  • Viking Star (built 2015/465 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)
  • Viking Venus (built 2021/465 staterooms/930 passengers/465 crew)


VIRGIN VOYAGES (adults-only luxury ships)

  • Scarlet Lady (built 2020/1,408 staterooms/2,770 passengers/1,160 crew)
  • Valiant Lady (build 2021/1,208 staterooms/2,770 passengers/1,160 crew)
  • Resilient Lady (build 2022/1,208 staterooms/2,770 passengers/1,160 crew)
  • Brilliant Lady (build 2023/1,408 staterooms/2770 passengers/1,150 crew)