Who’s Who Part VI: Other Cruise Lines

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 has been released in smaller parts over the past several weeks. Links have been activated on all parts of the series.

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

(Part IIRoyal Caribbean Group – AzamaraCelebrity CruisesRoyal Caribbean InternationalSilversea Cruises

(Part IIITUI Group – Hapag-Lloyd CruisesMarella CruisesTUI Cruises

(Part IVNorwegian Cruise Line Holdings – Norwegian Cruise LineOceania CruisesRegent Seven Seas Cruises

(Part VGenting Hong KongCrystal Cruises, Dream Cruises, Star Cruises

(Current Article) Other Cruise LinesBahamas Paradise Cruise Line, Disney Cruise line, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises, Saga Cruises, Viking, Virgin Voyages

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Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Known for their 2-day voyages out of West Palm Beach, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line got its start in 2014. Previously, the executives worked for a recently defunct line called Celebration Cruise Line which ceased operations due to their only ship running aground rendering that ship unseaworthy. When the executives created this new line, they bought a ship from Costa (Costa Celebration), did some renovations to her and introduced the Grand Celebration in early 2015. The ship had carried the “celebration” part of the name since her inception in 1987 with Carnival Cruise Lines. In November 2020, the ship had been sold to an undisclosed buyer.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line operates one other ship called Grand Classica, which was transferred from Costa Cruises in 2018.

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Disney Cruise Line

Formed in 1996, and taking inspiration from Premier Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line was born! They set sail with their first ship, Disney Magic which made frequent visits to their private island, Castaway Cay. The line tends to focus on families and includes activities, meals, and shows that cater to children of all ages. With four ships currently sailing, they are more commonly seen sailing out of Port Canaveral (the closest port to Orlando and Walt Disney World), Los Angeles (closest to Disneyland), and Alaska for those cool summer getaways. All four ships look very similar in design and include many features shared across the fleet – from the Walt Disney Theater where you can watch full-length feature films, to the set of double funnels found on the top deck. You can learn more about Disney Cruise Line by reading our earlier blog entry: Magical Cruises.

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Originally setting sail in 1848 by three Olsen brothers, Fred. Olsen has since become a UK-based, Norwegian-owned cruise shipping line. They got their start as an international shipping company, which is now operated by the fifth generation of the family. The cruise line is part of the Fred. Olsen Group which also operates aircraft, ship building, and offshore industries. They introduced their first passenger ship in 1966 which would go under charter during the summer season with another company. Today, the line sails with 4 ships which range in size from 24,000 GT to 62,000 GT and while the ambience onboard is primarily British, they sail in Northern Europe, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean, Africa, Canada, the United States and South America.

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MSC Cruises

Originally founded as Lauro Lines in Italy in 1960, the company began cruise operations with two ships. One of those ships burnt in the port of St. Thomas in 1979 and the other was hijacked by members of the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985. By 1989, the Mediterranean Shipping Company bought Lauro Lines and renamed it StarLauro Cruises. Following the purchase of Cunard Princess in 1995, the company changed their name once more to MSC Cruises. By the early 2000s, MSC Cruises was well on their way to becoming a household name for cruising in Europe with the introduction of the Lirica Class of ships. Smaller in size, these ships were all built for Festival Cruises and eventually transferred to MSC Cruises.

Their first newly built ship was introduced in 2006 and they have since built 12 more ships. 2019 saw the introduction of their private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. (You can read more about Ocean Cay on our private islands blog.) In 2019, MSC Cruises unveiled the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant – ZOE which has artificial intelligence and can be found on MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa, and all new-builds after. Scheduled to launch in 2023, MSC Cruises will take their private MSC Yacht Club concept featured on their cruise ships to a new level and begin sailing the luxury market with a line of the same name.

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Saga Cruises

Saga Group, who had been operating since 1951 as a company focused on serving the needs of people aged 50 and older started a new cruising company in 1996. British based, the newly formed Saga Cruises began sailing one year later in 1997 with a ship they purchased from Cunard Line. Saga Cruises introduced their next ship, another former Cunard Line vessel, in 2004. Two years later, they created a sub-brand called “Spirit of Adventure” consisting of smaller ships. This venture lasted up until 2013, when the remaining ship was absorbed back into the Saga Cruises brand. In 2014, Saga’s parent company went public on the London Stock Exchange and a year later the cruise line announced that they had signed a memorandum of agreement for its first-ever new-build. That ship officially set sail in 2019 and was followed one year later by its sister. Saga Cruises currently only has two ships operating in its fleet, and due to the pandemic, has experienced challenging times for the line. The second ship was scheduled to launch in 2020, however the maiden voyage has been delayed.

Currently, there are plans to debut a riverboat operated by the cruise line in early 2021.

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Originally starting in 1997 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Viking River Cruises kicked off sailing with four river cruise ships. By 2000, those four ships proved to be so successful that the company purchased KD River Cruises of Europe increasing their fleet to 26 making it the largest river cruising company in the world. The company began to revamp their fleet to cater to their demographic of older North Americans. After retiring and shifting some of their ships around, by 2007, Viking had 23 ships in operation in Europe, Russia, and China.

In 2011, Viking made plans to launch 40 ships over the next five years. In doing this, they christened 10 ships on one day in 2013 and in 2014 they made the Guinness Book of World Records for their launch of 16 ships between two days. The Viking Ocean Cruises division launched in 2014 with the construction of the newly-built ship, Viking Star. Five additional ships have launched since, all with a guest capacity of 930 and 550 crew onboard.

In 2017, Viking launched its first round-the-world cruise for 141 days. The very next year, they announced the Ultimate World Cruise package, with the most expensive option being onboard for 245 days, the longest continuous world cruise itinerary in history. 2018 saw the creation of Viking Expedition cruises allowing the smaller ocean-going vessels to carry equipment for research in the harder to reach regions.

Their first purpose-built expedition ships are scheduled to launch in 2022 with a passenger capacity of 378.

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Virgin Voyages

Founded in 2014 by a Virgin Group executive and former CEO of The World (a residential cruise ship), Virgin Cruises was developed to be a cruise line created for the younger demographic and new cruisers. Once all financial backing had been secured, the line officially changed its name to Virgin Voyages to strengthen its marketing to the target market in 2016. By 2018, the line had signed an agreement with PortMiami to build a new cruise terminal which is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Virgin Voyages had also joined hands with Genting Group’s Resorts World Bimini in 2019 to develop a private destination set to feature a variety of local cuisine offerings and scheduled activities for guests called The Beach Club, located on the Bahamian island of Bimini. Later that same year, they secured a 30-year contract for berthing rights at PortMiami. As of this writing, their inaugural sailing has yet to happen onboard the Scarlet Lady. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the launch of the line’s first ship and their second ship in the fleet, Valiant Lady. She is a couple of months behind schedule but is still expected to launch in 2021.

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So many brands!

We hope you enjoyed the Who’s Who series and that you learned something new in at least one of these articles. This concludes our tour of all of the major ocean cruise brands. Do you have a favorite brand that we didn’t include but you’d like to learn more about? Or maybe you have a brand you’d like to try out after reading through the series! Who is it and what draws you to them? Drop us a note in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Who’s Who Part VI: Other Cruise Lines”

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