Carnival Corporation & plc

Carnival Corporation & plc is a British-American cruise operator, currently the world's largest travel leisure company, with a combined fleet of over 100 vessels across 10 cruise line brands. A dual-listed company, Carnival is composed of two companies, Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc, which function as one entity. Carnival Corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Carnival plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange. As such, Carnival is the only company in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and FTSE 100 indices.

Carnival Corporation & plc
Carnival Cruise Line[1] (an existing subsidiary; Carnival Corporation)
P&O Princess Cruises[2] (Carnival plc)
Dual-listed public company
Traded asNYSE: CCL
S&P 500 Component (CCL)
FTSE 100 Constituent
IndustryHospitality, Tourism
Founded1972 (1972)[3] (as Carnival Cruise Line, now a subsidiary)
1993 (1993) (as Carnival Corporation)
2003 (2003)[2] (as Carnival Corporation & plc)
HeadquartersMiami, Florida,
Area served
Key people
Micky Arison
Arnold W. Donald
(President and CEO)
ServicesCruise line
Revenue US$18.88 billion (2018)[5]
US$3.32 billion (2018)[5]
US$3.15 billion (2018)[5]
Total assets US$42.40 billion (2018)[5]
Total equity US$24.44 billion (2018)[5]
Number of employees
120,000 (2017)[6]


Carnival Corporation was founded as Carnival Cruise Line in 1972. The company grew steadily throughout the 1970s and 1980s, making an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 1987. The capital generated was used to finance acquisitions, and between 1989 and 1999, the company acquired Holland America Line, Windstar Cruises, Westours, Seabourn Cruise Line, Costa Cruises and Cunard Line. The name Carnival Corporation was adopted in 1993, to distinguish the parent company from its flagship cruise line subsidiary.[3]

P&O Princess Cruises plc was formed in 2000, following the demerger of the cruise ship division of the P&O group.[7] Originating as the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company in England in 1837, P&O operated the world's first commercial cruise ships. Restructuring of the P&O group in the 20th century led to its cruise operations being rebranded as P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia, with the company acquiring Princess Cruises in 1974. Following the demerger in 2000, the company also acquired AIDA Cruises,[8] as well as establishing the A'Rosa Cruises and Ocean Village brands.[9]

In 2003, Carnival Corporation acquired P&O Princess Cruises plc.[10] It was agreed that P&O Princess Cruises plc would remain a separate company, listed on the London Stock Exchange and retaining its British shareholder body and management team. The company was renamed Carnival plc, with the operations of the two companies merged into one entity. Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc jointly own all the operating companies in the Carnival group.[2] Prior to Carnival Corporation's acquisition, P&O Princess Cruises plc had agreed to a merger with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The deal unraveled as Carnival Corporation initiated a hostile takeover with improved terms for British shareholders.[11]

Carnival sold Windstar Cruises to Ambassadors Group in February 2007[12] and Swan Hellenic to Lord Sterling in March 2007.[13]

In October 2015, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping, a joint venture between Carnival, the China Investment Corporation, and the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, was founded, with operations expected to commence in 2019.[14][15]

In March 2018, Carnival Corporation announced its intention to invest in the construction of a new terminal in the port of Sasebo, Japan. It is expected to open in 2020.[16] In June 2018, Carnival Corporation announced that it had acquired the White Pass & Yukon Route port, railroad and retail operations in Skagway, Alaska.[17]

Current operations

The Carnival group comprises nine cruise line brands and one cruise experience brand operating a combined fleet of 104 ships.[4]

The following operating companies have full executive control of the Carnival brands in their portfolio, with the exception of CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping in which 40% is controlled:

Carnival of the Americas

Carnival United Kingdom

Holland America Group

Carnival Australia

Carnival China

Costa Group

Brands and ships

AIDA Cruises

AIDA Cruises originated from the state-owned German shipping conglomerate Deutsche Seereederei, established in Rostock, Germany in 1952.[18] The company entered the passenger market in the 1960s, but after the unification of Germany in 1990, the company was privatised and its passenger ships acquired by Deutsche Seetouristik. In 1996, the company launched its first new cruise ship AIDA, but after failing to achieve a profit, the ship was sold to Norwegian Cruise Line, continuing operations under a charter agreement.[18] In 1999, Deutsche Seetouristik was acquired by British shipping company P&O, with the AIDA name being repurchased from NCL. P&O subsequently formed AIDA Cruises as a subsidiary brand, with two new ships ordered to form a fleet. AIDA was renamed AIDAcara, with AIDAvita and AIDAaura launched in 2002 and 2003 respectively.[18]

AIDA Cruises ships

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line was founded in 1972 as a subsidiary of American International Travel Service (AITS), by Ted Arison and Meshulam Riklis.[3] Due to mounting debts, Riklis sold his stake in the company to Arison for $1 in 1974. However through the acquisition of existing ships, the company continued to grow and, in 1980, Carnival ordered its first new commission, the Tropicale, which was completed in 1981/2.[3] Three further ships were commissioned during the 1980s, the Holiday (1985), Jubilee (1986) and Celebration (1987). In 1987, Carnival completed an initial public offering of 20 percent of its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange, raising approximately $400m in capital.[3] The capital raised was used to finance acquisitions, so in 1993 the business was restructured as a holding company, under the name Carnival Corporation, with Carnival Cruise Line becoming its principal subsidiary.[3]

Carnival Cruise Line ships

Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises originates from a cargo shipping company founded by Giacomo Costa fu Andrea in Genoa, Italy in 1854.[19] Better known as Costa Line or C Line by the 1920s, its first passenger carrier was Maria C, a former U.S. Navy stores ship that was partly converted for passenger use and served various routes to North and South America from 1947 to 1953.[19] The company's first dedicated passenger ship was the Anna C, a cargo vessel that was requisitioned for war time use by the Royal Navy and refitted as an accommodation ship before returning to merchant use.[19] Costa purchased the ship in 1947 and it operated between Italy and South America from 1948, later converting to full-time cruising and serving with the company until 1971. From the late 1960s until the 1980s, Costa rapidly developed its passenger operations into what we now recognise as modern cruise ships. Subsequently, in 1987, it consolidated its cruise ship operations into a new company, Costa Cruises, which at its peak, was the largest cruise ship operator in the world. The takeover of Costa Cruises by Carnival Corporation began in 1997, as a 50/50 deal between Carnival and the British tour operator Airtours.[20]

Costa Cruises ships

Carnival CSSC

CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping (Carnival China) is a Chinese-American cruise line that is scheduled to begin operation in 2019. CSSC Carnival was founded in October 2015 as a joint venture, worth about $4 billion over ten years, between American cruise line Carnival Corporation & plc, Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation, and Chinese shipbuilder China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). CSSC Carnival is headquartered in Hong Kong and is majority owned by the Chinese shareholders, which collectively own 60% of the company, with Carnival holding the remainder.[14]

Cunard Line

The second oldest brand in the Carnival group after P&O Cruises, Cunard Line originates from 1840 and celebrated its 179th anniversary in 2019. It was founded by Samuel Cunard, who was awarded the first trans-Atlantic mail contract in 1837 and established the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company in 1840.[21] After initially dominating the trans-Atlantic route, the need for new capital led to the company being re-organised as the Cunard Steamship Company Ltd in 1879.[22] The early 1900s saw increased competition for speed, particularly from Germany, which led the British government to subsidise the building of Mauretania and Lusitania, which both won the Blue Riband. Competition continued to increase however and by the early 1930s, Cunard was experiencing financial difficulties.[23] To secure further government subsidy, it agreed to merge with its chief rival White Star Line, to form Cunard-White Star Line in 1934.[24] Cunard later purchased the remaining White Star shares in 1947, reverting to the name Cunard Line in 1949. Cunard continued to operate independently until 1971, when it was acquired by the conglomerate Trafalgar House, which was in turn taken over by the Norwegian company Kværner in 1996.[25] In 1998, Carnival Corporation purchased a controlling stake in Cunard, completing the acquisition in 1999 to become sole shareholder.[26] Since that time, Cunard has been one of Carnival's most high-profile brands, with the continued popularity of the famous Queen Elizabeth 2 and the development of the world's largest trans-Atlantic Ocean liner Queen Mary 2, which continues to be the flagship of the fleet.[27]

Cunard Line ships

Holland America Line

Holland America Line originated as Plate, Reuchlin & Company, founded in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1871. Initially struggling to survive, the company went public in 1873, renamed Nederlandsch Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij (NASM).[28] The company grew quickly in the early years, acquiring several new ships, including SS Rotterdam, which operated the company's first passenger cruise in 1895. The company also quickly became known by its shortened English name, Holland America Line, which was officially adopted in 1869. By the early 1900s, the company had separated its cargo and passenger operations, with its passenger ships being identifiable by names ending with dam, a tradition which continues with Holland America cruise ships today. The development of container shipping in the 1960s, forced the company to make a decision between investing in new cargo ships, or cruise ships. It ultimately sold its cargo operations, becoming exclusively a cruise ship company in 1973.[28] Holland America continued to thrive well into the 1980s, consolidating its business with the acquisitions of Westours, Windstar Cruises and Home Lines. In 1989 however, it was itself the subject of an acquisition, when it was purchased in full by Carnival Corporation.[28]

Holland America Line ships

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises was founded in 1977 as a subsidiary of the shipping company P&O,[29] and traces its heritage to P&O's first passenger operations in 1837.[30] Along with P&O Cruises Australia, a sister company also founded by P&O and owned by Carnival Corporation & plc, it has the oldest heritage of any cruise line in the world.[31][32] P&O Cruises was divested from P&O in 2000, becoming a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises,[33] before coming under the ownership of Carnival Corporation & plc in 2003, following the merger between P&O Princess Cruises and Carnival Corporation.[2] P&O Cruises is based in Southampton, England, and operates a fleet of six ships, dedicated to serving the British market.[34]

P&O Cruises ships

P&O Cruises Australia

Princess Cruises

Seabourn Cruise Line

Former brands

  • A'Rosa Cruises - Established by P&O Princess in 2001, sold following the Carnival merger in 2003
  • Fathom - Established by the Carnival Corporation in 2015 - Ended cruise operations in 2017. Its functions were reduced to operating as a tour group until the end of 2018.
  • Fiesta Marina Cruises - Established by Carnival Corp in 1993, liquidated in 1994. The sole ship was sold to the Epirotiki Line.
  • Ibero Cruises - Established by Carnival Corp in 2003, liquidated in 2014 with ships transferred to Costa Cruises and Cruise & Maritime Voyages.
  • Ocean Village - Established by P&O Princess in 2003, liquidated in 2010 with ship transferred to P&O Cruises Australia
  • Swan Hellenic - P&O Princess subsidiary since 1983, liquidated in 2007 with ship transferred to Princess Cruises
  • Windstar Cruises - Carnival subsidiary since 1989, sold to Ambassadors International in 2007.

Repeated violations of environmental laws

In 2002 the Carnival Corporation pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Miami to criminal charges related to falsifying records of the oil-contaminated bilge water that six of its ships dumped into the sea from 1996 through 2001. The Carnival Corporation was ordered to pay $18 million in fines and perform community service, received five years' probation and must submit to a court-supervised worldwide environmental-compliance program for each of its cruise ships.[35]

For dumping oiled waste into the seas and lying to cover it up Princess Cruise Lines was fined $40 million in 2016. According to federal authorities, it was the "largest-ever criminal penalty" for intentional vessel pollution. Officials said that these practices began in 2005 and persisted until August 2013, when a newly hired engineer blew the whistle. As part of its plea agreement, ships of the parent company Carnival Cruise lines were subjected to a court supervised environmental compliance plan for five years.[36]

For violation of the probation terms of 2016 Carnival and its Princess line were ordered to pay an additional $20 million penalty in 2019. The new violations included discharging plastic into waters in the Bahamas, falsifying records and interfering with court supervision.[37]

Notable ships

Carnival has various notable ships, including:

  • Queen Mary 2 (Cunard Line) – The largest in a line of 'Cunard Queens', the prestigious transatlantic ocean liners.[38]
  • Carnival Destiny (Carnival Cruise Line) – The first cruise ship to be built over 100,000-GT and also the first cruise ship to exceed the largest ocean liner in size.
  • Star Princess (Princess Cruises) – Received media attention when a large fire ripped through berths in March 2006.
  • Aurora (P&O Cruises) – The last ship with an original design to be built for and enter the UK market.
  • Britannia (P&O Cruises) – Based on the Royal Princess, the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market.
  • Carnival Magic (Carnival Cruise Line) – The line's 100th ship when it debuted in May 2011.
  • Carnival Splendor (Carnival Cruise Line) – Suffered Engine Room Fire on 8 November 2010, which left it without power and drifting in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Mexico. Later towed to San Diego, CA.
  • Carnival Triumph (Carnival Cruise Line) – Suffered Engine Room Fire on 10 February 2013, which left it without power and drifting in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Mexico. Later towed to Mobile, AL.
  • AIDAnova (AIDA Cruises) – First Full LNG-powered cruise ship.

Former ships


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