Who’s Who Part II: Royal Caribbean Group

With all of the different brands of cruise lines out there, I thought it might be appropriate to break down the lines and help you understand who the parent companies are and what their sub-brands are best known for. This Weekly Wednesday article will dig up some minor brands which you may not have ever heard before. All of the information is current as the of the time this article was published.

This post will be released in smaller parts over the next several weeks. Links will be activated once the subsequent entries have been posted.

(Part I) Carnival Corporation & plc – AIDA CruisesCarnival Cruise LineCarnival CSSCCosta CruisesCunard LineHolland America LineP&O CruisesP&O Cruises AustraliaPrincess CruisesSeabourn Cruise Line

(Current Article) Royal Caribbean GroupAzamara, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Silversea Cruises

(Part III) TUI GroupHapag-Lloyd Cruises, Marella Cruises, TUI Cruises

(Part IV) Norwegian Cruise Line HoldingsNorwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises

(Part V) Genting Hong KongCrystal Cruises, Dream Cruises, Star Cruises

(Part VI) Other Cruise Lines – Bahamas Paradise Cruise LineDisney Cruise lineFred. Olsen Cruise LinesMSC CruisesSaga CruisesVikingVirgin Voyages

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Royal Caribbean Group

In 1997, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line purchased Celebrity Cruises and rather than merge the brands together, a new company name was established, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. By 2000, Island Cruises was created as a joint venture with First Choice Holidays which serviced the British and Brazilian markets. November 2006 saw the purchase of Pullmantur Cruises in Spain and this was followed by the creation of Azamara Cruises in 2007 as a subsidiary of Celebrity Cruises. 2008 had the introduction of CDF Croisieres de France, a line to serve the French-language market. Royal Caribbean also has a 50% interest in TUI Cruises, a joint venture with TUI Group and by 2008 they sold their shares of Island Cruises to TUI. In early 2019 a joint venture with Royal Caribbean and ITM Group created Holistica, a company that will develop cruise destinations, starting with Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport, Bahamas. In July 2020, they purchased the remaining shares of Silversea Cruises and officially changed the holding company name to Royal Caribbean Group.

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Considered to be an up-market voyage experience, Azamara caters to discerning travelers who desire out-of-the-ordinary destinations while indulging in amenities and service that’s unparalleled on the high seas. The line was introduced in 2007 with the suites on the 3 ships in fleet offering butler service. The shore excursions are designed to let guests immerse themselves in the destination. There are two specialty restaurants on each ship with fine cuisine options. Each ship has a capacity of 690 guests, and they visit ports that the larger cruise liners are unable to call at. What’s in the name? Pulling from several Romance languages, “az” comes from the word blue and “mar” derives from the word for sea. There’s also inspiration taken from the star named “Acamar” which was the most southern bright star that could be seen from the latitude shared by Greece.

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Celebrity Cruises

Formed in 1988 under the Greece-based Chandris Group, Celebrity Cruises was set to operate upmarket cruise ships to Bermuda. Cruise competitor Holland America Line operated several ships under the Home Lines brand that had priority berthing rights in Bermuda. When Holland America decided to withdraw Home Lines from sailing to Bermuda, it opened a slot for two new ships to gain access. Chandris Group owned Chandris Fantasy Cruises at the time, which was designed for the budget-conscious family, however Bermuda wasn’t looking for a low-cost partner. Chandris created Celebrity Cruises while negotiating berthing rights with the Bermuda Government and was awarded a five-year period beginning in 1990. They took a ship from Chandris Family Cruises in 1989 and rebuilt it in Germany to prepare for the launch of Celebrity Cruises in early 1990. The company’s signature logo is an “X” found on the funnel, it’s the Greek letter chi, for “Chandris.” By 1997, the Chandris family sold their interests in Celebrity Cruises to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, leading to the formation of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. In 2001, the Celebrity Expeditions sub-brand was launched with smaller boutique ships offering specialized cruises around the Galapagos Islands. Two ships were scheduled to transfer form Pullmantur Cruises to Celebrity in 2006 to join the Celebrity Expeditions sub-brand, however the decision was made to transfer those ships to begin operations under Azamara Cruises. Fun fact: in 2017, Celebrity Cruises captains are legally allowed to perform same-sex marriages in international waters since a majority of the company’s ships are flagged in Malta where same-sex marriages has been legalized.

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Royal Caribbean International

Originally founded in 1968 by three Norwegian shipping companies, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was formed with the launch of the Song of Norway. The ship proved to be very profitable which lead to the lengthening of it in 1978. In 1986, Royal Caribbean signed a lease to use Labadie, Haiti as a private destination for its guests. Following a corporate restructuring in 1988, Sovereign of the Seas was launched, the largest passenger vessel at the time. During the same year, Royal Caribbean and Admiral Cruises merged. Two years later, the line purchased a second private destination, Little Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. In 1993, Royal Caribbean went public on the New York Stock Exchange leading to rapid growth of the company and a new headquarters being built in Miami, Florida. In 1997, the oldest ship in the fleet, Song of Norway was sold and they completed the launch of the Vision-class ships. Also in 1997, Royal Caribbean merged with the Greek cruise line Celebrity Cruises and changed its name to Royal Caribbean International. Following the reorganization, Royal Caribbean saw the launch of the Voyager-class and Radiance-class of ships. 2002 saw the installation of rock-climbing walls on all of their ships. The launch of the Freedom-class in 2005 saw the introduction of the largest passenger vessel in the world, followed by the Oasis-class in 2009. In 2016 and 2017, Royal sold two of their ships, Splendour of the Seas and Legend of the Seas (respectively) to TUI Cruises.

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Silversea Cruises

Originally called Sitmar Cruises, the line was founded in 1994 by two companies, V-Ships of Monaco and the Lefebvre family of Rome. It was introduced as an all-inclusive line with gratuities, beverages, port charges, travel insurance, and some complimentary shore excursions being a part of the booking price. With approximately 80 percent of their customer base being project to come from North America, a sales office was established in Miami, Florida. By 2012, Silversea acquired an Ecuadorian tourism company that operated in the Galapagos Island which aided in the creation of the Silversea Expeditions brand. It wasn’t until 2018 that Royal Caribbean Group purchased a majority stake in Silversea for around $1 billion and by July 2020, the remaining shares were acquired through an exchange of 5.2 million shares with Heritage Cruise Holding.

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So many brands!

We hope you enjoyed Part II of the Who’s Who series and that you learned something new. Don’t forget to come back next week for the next part of our journey where we will discover one more brand that is associated with Royal Caribbean Group.

5 thoughts on “Who’s Who Part II: Royal Caribbean Group”

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