Who Owns Who And Which Is The Biggest Cruise Line?

Many times when I am booking clients I am asked what group are they part of or who do they belong to? And many times I have to think or double check, because you would be surprised there is not many privately own cruise companies. Because of mergers and consolidations, a cruise line may also be a brand of a larger holding corporation. For example Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise lines are part of the larger parent corporation Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. So I thought it be interesting to find out about who own who and also what market share they have of the world cruise market by passenger and revenue.


At the end of 2015 the total world wide cruise industry was estimated at $39.6 billion which was a 6.9% increase on 2014, with 22.2 million passengers carried which was a 3.2% increase on 2014. Below is a list of the cruise lines which belong to the larger holding corporation. along with the market share of worldwide passengers and market share of revenue.


Carnival Corporation PLC – Carnival, Costa, Princess, AIDA, Holland American Line, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, Ibero Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn Cruises. Overall these account for 48% share of the cruise Worldwide passenger market and 42% share of revenue.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd – Royal Caribbean, Pullmantur, Azamara, Celebrity, Croisieres de France (CDF) – Account for 23% share of the cruise Worldwide passenger market and 22% share of revenue.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd – NCL, Oceania Cruises, Regent Sevens Seas – Account for 10.5% share of the cruise Worldwide passenger market and 12.4% share of revenue.

MSC Cruises – The world’s largest privately owned cruise company, accounts for 5.2% share of the cruise Worldwide passenger market and 4.2% share of revenue.

All Others  – Include Disney, Thomson Cruises, Viking, Crystal, Cruise & Maritime, Fred Olsen, Star Clipper Cruises and many others – Account for 13.2% share of the cruise Worldwide passenger market and 19.1% share of revenue.


What was more interesting was when you look into the individual cruise lines market share of passengers and revenue. The biggest surprise to me was that Carnival Cruise Line on it’s own has a 21.3% share of the market on passengers, but only an 8% share of the market on revenue. With most of the cruise ships being home ported in the USA and shorter cruises appealing to the younger and fun US market, prices per cruise a lot cheaper compared to cruise other lines.

Cruise lines such as P&O, Cunard and Princess may have a lower market share of passengers 10.5% but they accounted for 15.1% of the market revenue share. But the biggest difference in relation from passenger share to revenue was Regent Seven Seas they only have 0.3% passenger market share but account for 1.5% revenue market share – a whopping 5 times the amount.

seven seas

What do you think – Did those figures surprise you? Did you realise MSC are the largest privately owned cruise company? Have you been with Carnival how do they compare with other cruise lines?



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About Me

Ahoy there! Welcome to 'Set Sail with Sean.' I feel lucky that I have been able to combine my passion with my career for the past 20 years in the travel industry. It's been a privilege to have visited some amazing places and experienced once in a lifetime moments through the…

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