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LIST: CRUISE LINES

These are cruise lines operating cruises available to British passengers, or 'guests' as the cruise industry prefers to call us.
Azamara Club Cruises 0844 493 4016 Luxury brand (launched spring 2007) of Royal Caribbean Cruises, offering worldwide cruises on two 710-berth ships Azamara Journey & Azamara Quest.
Carnival Cruise Lines 020 7729 1929 Carnival is the biggest kid on the block and many of the well-known big players in the cruise industry are wholly or partly-owned Carnival brands (eg Cunard, P&O, Princess, etc). The Carnival fleet of 19 'Fun ships' are very much US market focused.
Celebrity Cruises 0845 456 0523 Celebrity operates at the top end of the mainstream large ship cruise lines, with a well established reputation for good service, high-quality catering and facilities. Over the years they've increased their overall capacity by building bigger ships but keeping the fleet size more or less fixed at 10 ships (11 currently, with one smaller expedition ship in the Galapagos).
Celestyal Cruises +30 210 4583499 Formerly Louis Cruise Lines. The Cyprus-based shipping company/cruise line has a mixture of its own branded ships (3) and some chartered ships (2) that it operates mostly in the Med.
Club Med Cruises 08453 67 67 67 Club Med's own single ship cruise line. The Club Med 2 is a modern five-masted sailing ship carrying up to 392 passengers, whose stern opens up to create a small dock for water activities. Itineraries for 04/05 included the Grenadines, French West Indies, and the US Virgin Islands during the winter months, and Corsica, the French Riviera, the Italian coast, Turkey and Croatia during the summer.
Costa Cruises 020 7940 5398 Italian cruise line, with a fleet of 14 modern mid-to-large ships, that became a Carnival brand in 2000. The signs are they've bounced back from their unhappy 2012 incidents (Costa Concordia accident and Costa Allegra breakdown). Much of their cruise programme is European based, with other itineraries in the Far East, the Pacific, the Amazon River, U.S.A. & Canada and the Caribbean.
Crystal Cruises 020 7287 9040 Stylish cruising at the top-end of the market on two ships: Crystal Symphony (940-passengers, built 1995), and Crystal Serenity (1008-passengers, built 2003).
Cunard 0845 071 0300 Cunard is a three ship fleet again with the arrival of the 2,068-guest Queen Elizabeth. Queen Mary 2 is still the primary transatlantic passage-maker. Queen Victoria (1,968 passengers) is designed for worldwide cruising, as is their new sister ship.
Disney Cruise Line 0990 200 605 Disney have two large (2500-passenger) modern ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder catering for high-quality family holidays. The ships follow a regular pattern of short cruises sailing from Florida to the Bahamas and the Caribbean where they stop off at Disney's unique private island resort. Work has started on the first of two new 128,000-tonne/4,000-passenger additions to the fleet, Disney Magic and Disney Fantasy due to go into service in Jan 2011 and 2012.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines 01473 292 222 Long-term favourite with British cruise passengers operating the 450-passenger Black Prince since 1966 (cabins have portholes!) from UK ports to the Mediterranean, Canaries & Scandinavia/Baltic. In 1996 they added Black Watch and Braemar in 2001, both carrying around 800-passengers, and their latest ship, Boudicca, will join the fleet in Feb 2006.
Hapag Lloyd Cruises n/a A four ship fleet specialising in expedition & polar cruises MS Bremen (164 passengers) & MS Hanseatic (184 passengers), in luxury themed cruises MS Europa (5-star, 408 passengers), and in small off-the-beaten-track destinations, MS Columbus (420 passengers).
Holland America Line 0843 374 2300 Celebrating its 140th anniversary in 2013, HAL operates a fleet of 15 premium class ships, ranging in size from 835 to 2,100 guests, on worldwide itineraries with an increasing focus on Asia, pacific and Australasia cruises.
Indian Ocean Cruises 0800 032 70 20 Indian cruise line launched in autumn 2006 operating a refurbished 4-star 250-passenger ship, MS Ocean Odyssey (formerly MTS Jason) from Goa with an Indian Ocean programme visiting Cochin, Mangalore, Trivandrum, Tuticorum, Colombo and the previously 'off-limits' protected islands of Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea.
MSC Cruises 0844 561 1955 European cruise line with a modern 12-ship fleet that they've been investing in since 2003. The four Fantasia class flagships – MSC Preziosa (2013), MSC Divina (2012), MSC Splendida (2009) and MSC Fantasia (2008) – are their largest at roughly 140,000 tonnes/4,350 guests. The four vessels in the Musica Class – MSC Magnifica (2010), MSC Poesia (2008), MSC Orchestra (2007) and MSC Musica (2006) – are roughly 90,000 tonnes/3,000 guests. And the Lirica Class – MSC Sinfonia (2005), MSC Armonia (2004), MSC Opera (2004) and MSC Lirica (2003) – are roughly 60,000 tonnes/2,000 guests. Between them they operate year-round cruises in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, and aprogramme of seasonal itineraries in northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South America, South Africa, the Canary Islands and the United Arab Emirates. There are two more new, 167,000 tonne/5,700 guest, ships on the way in 2017 & 2019.
Norwegian Coastal Voyage 020 7559 6666 There are ferries that make 'mini-cruises' out of long-distance crossings, but only a few, such as the 'Hurtigruten' really straddle the dividing line between being a ferry company and being a cruise line. The Hurtigruten fleet of 14 ships has been serving the coastal and offshore communities of Norway for decades. The nine larger and more modern ships of the fleet offer cruise line standards on voyages up to 11-days along the spectacular fjords (Bergen - Kirkenes and back).

NCV have further blurred the lines by introducing cruises in Scotland, the Seychelles, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.
Norwegian Cruise Line 0845 201 8900 NCL have an up-to-date fleet of 13 ships cruising worldwide, most (10) carrying around 2,000 guests, and the other three carrying over 4,000 guests. As of May 2014 there are another two new ships in the pipeline, Norwegian Escape & Norwegian Bliss, that will become Norwegian's largest ships at approximately 163,000 gross tons/4,200 guests. Norwegian ships are known for their 'Freestyle' dining options, private all-suite decks, hostel-like solo cabins, and world class shows & entertainment.
Oceania Cruises 0845 505 1920 American 5-star cruise line launched July 2003. They began operations in April 04 with two 30,000-ton, 684-passenger ships, Regatta and Insignia (formerly Rennaissance Cruises), and a third, Nautica. In Feb 2011 their first purpose-built ship, Marina, will join the fleet and shortly after, her sister ship, Riviera. Oceania have deliberately focused on mid-sized ships where their "country club casual" style mixes the personal attention of small ships with the wider range of facilities offered by large ships.
Orion Expedition Cruises 020 7399 7620 Small ship expedition cruises (2 ship fleet) to remote spots mostly in the Pacific and East Asia.
P&O Cruises 0845 678 00 14 Pound sign Undeniably British cruising. Sail from a cold damp day in Southampton and find yourself days later soaking up the Caribbean or Mediterranean rays. No aeroplanes involved, at least not for most of their cruises. P&O now has seven ships mostly around the 2000-passenger mark.
Princess Cruises 020 7800 2468 The American part of the P & O/Princess partnership - although it's all owned by Carnival Cruises these days. There are 11 ships in the Princess fleet, mostly mid to upper market. They range from the giant 2700-passenger Grand Princess, Golden Princess & Star Princess, to the pair of 670-passenger Pacific Princess & Tahitian Princess (formerly Rennaissance Cruises).
Regent Seven Seas Cruises 02380 682 280 Regent (formerly Radisson Seven Seas Cruises) have a 3-ship fleet. Two 700-passenger sister ships Seven Seas Voyager (2003) and Seven Seas Mariner (2001). All cabins on both ships have balconies, while the smaller, 490-guest, Seven Seas Navigator (1999) has balconies for most cabins. Regent's style is 'elegant casual' (no jeans), 6-star luxury cruising for hundreds, rather than thousands, of guests.
Royal Caribbean 0800 018 2020 Pound sign Middle-market cruising, strong for families. An enormous fleet of 20 large ships offers a huge range of global cruising opportunities and value-for-money, quality cruising. RCI regularly updates its fleet and has a reputation for building the biggest (Oasis class) and most innovative ships. 
SeaDream Yacht Club 020 8248 2355 Two 55-cabin luxury cruise yachts (SeaDream I & SeaDream II). They call themselves a 'yacht club' rather than a cruise line because in between the start & finish date their cruises have flexible itineraries. The Berlitz guide - one of the top two guides to cruising - gives them top rating. In fact they've now created a special category, 'Utterly Exclusive' just for Seadream.
Silversea Cruises 0870 333 7030 Medium sized all-inclusive stylish and luxurious ships with a high ratio of both space and crew for each passenger. Most cabins have balconies. Silver Cloud and Silver Wind carry 300 passengers, Silver Shadow & Silver Whisper carry 400.
St. Helena Line 01326 211 466 One-ship cruise line that 'reaches parts other lines cannot reach'. The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) St Helena, takes freight, mail and passengers to two of the remotest islands in the world, St Helena and Ascension.
Star Clippers 01473 292 029 A fleet of three stunning fully-rigged traditional clipper sailing ships comprising two barquetines - the original Star Clipper and her sister ship, Star Flyer, both carrying 110 passengers - and the 228-passenger flagship, Royal Clipper, the first five-masted sailing ship to be built in nearly a hundred years and the world's largest sailing ship. Informal luxury cruising under sail.
Star Cruises 01293 422 244 Only 12 years old (in 2005) and already the world's third largest cruise company. Star Cruises tapped into the cruise potential of the Asian Pacific region and has since aquired Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Orient Lines. Star cruise has eight ships operating in Asia Pacific, two of which - Superstar Virgo and Superstar Leo - are sold through UK tour operators/agencies.
Swan Hellenic 020 7800 2200 SH have been operating upmarket cruises focusing on the arts, culture and history of destinations from the Arctic Circle to South America, backed up with on board lecturers and experts, for over 50 years. In 2006 their parent company, Carnival UK, decided their single ship Minerva II could be run more cost-effectively under one of their sister-brands, Princess Cruises, and offered the brand for sale. It was picked up by the All Leisure group who now operate Swan Hellenic cruises in the traditional style.
Thomson Cruise 0871 231 4691 Pound sign Thomsons (part of TUI) have five ships operating summer cruises in the Mediterranean, offering a range of cruise styles from family-friendly to adults-only.
Variety Cruises 020 8324 3114 Specialist small ships (or large yachts!) cruise company since 1949 with a fleet of 11 fully-owned vessels varying in size from 4 to 36 cabins accomodating up to 72 guests.
Voyages of Discovery 01444 462 150 Single ship cruise line operating mv Discovery, formerly Island Princess. She was extensively refurbished for VoD in 2003 and cruises from the UK to Scandinavia, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Red Sea. Actually VoD is not really a cruise line, they are an agency that charters the Discovery for much of the year. When she's not with them she becomes the only ship of an American "cruise line" called Discovery World Cruises.
Windstar Cruises 020 7739 5414 A fleet of three luxury sailing ships operating Caribbean and European itineraries in the winter and summer. The give-away is the enormous V-shaped funnel among the masts, these ships may have sails but neither the passengers nor the crew do any ropework. It's all controlled by computers (purists look elsewhere for the romance of sail). Wind Star and Wind Spirit are sister ships carrying 150 passengers. The 308-passenger Wind Surf was originally Club Med I and was acquired by Windstar in 1990.
Yachts of Seabourn 0845 070 0500 Small luxury all-suite ships carrying 200 passengers - Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Pride & Seabourn Spirit) - and 450 passengers - Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourne Sojourn & Seabourn Quest (due Sunner 2011). Seabourne is a Carnival Corp brand.

Notes

  • Cruise Critic with its up-to-the-minute news and reviews is a brilliant resource for cruise enthusiasts and newbies
  • Viking River Cruises is building a fleet for its sister brand, Viking Ocean Cruises (no website yet). Viking announced in April 2012 that it had ordered two small cruise ships (45,000 GRT/998 passengers) from the Italian shipyard, Fincantieri, to be delivered in late 2014 and late 2015. Such is their commitment to small ship destination cruising, they then announced in Dec 2012, two more sister ships from Fincantieri, and 'options' on a further two.

 

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