People love lists – lists about all sorts things, things that are far too numerous to, well, list. People especially love lists of anything they are interested in, and so we have investigated lists of cruise lines for our readers. (Presumably, they have an above-average preoccupation with cruise lines). You’ll notice that we just used the word “lists” and that the title of this article is “Cruise Line Lists,” implying that there is more than one list of cruise lines, and this is of course true. One could make a list of only large cruise lines, or one could potentially try to compile a list of every cruise line in the world, although such a task would hinge on what one considers a cruise line, and it would be further complicated by the fact that many cruise lines are now defunct or have been absorbed by other cruise lines. Below we try to make sense of all of this and point you in the direction of some good cruise line lists.
A favorite type of list is the type that ranks its items, and of course there exist such lists for cruise lines. One of the more well-known lists of this variety is compiled by Condé Nast Traveler, and we have written about their list of the best cruise lines before. An obvious limitation of such a list is that it is in no way exhaustive (nor does it try to be). It only lists the “best” cruise lines, which for Condé Nast Traveler seem to be equivalent to expensive luxury cruise lines. If you are looking for an extensive list of cruise lines, you’ll have to look beyond “best cruise line” lists.
And this brings us to one of the best cruise line lists we’ve come across, which is compiled by Cruise Market Watch. The list compiled by CMW organizes cruise lines by market share, so this rather interesting information (which is also presented in an interactive graph) accompanies the extensive list they have put together. The list begins with the two largest cruise companies in the world (Carnival and Royal Caribbean), each of which are composed of multiple cruise lines, and the remaining cruise lines are listed below from largest to smallest in terms of market share.
It almost goes without saying that Wikipedia has a cruise line list, which is also quite extensive. The Wikipedia page includes a list of defunct cruise lines as well, which further indicates which of these non-operational cruise lines have merged with other cruise lines.
The CMW and the Wikipedia cruise line lists are definitely among the best out there, but neither is entirely exhaustive, and we suspect no such list exists because, as we mentioned above, it is difficult to determine what even constitutes a cruise line. For instance, one could plausibly argue that the cruise companies that operate Yangtze River cruises are cruise lines, but the cruise lines we wrote about in the article just linked to are not included in the CMW or Wikipedia lists. There are surely hundreds of other examples of such cruise lines (if one is inclined to call them so) that escape the attention of even extensive lists of cruise lines.
So, there are lots of cruise line lists out there – some are quite focused, such as the Condé Nast Traveler list, while others are expansive, like the CMW and Wikipedia lists. However, even the most extensive lists we’ve unearthed come nowhere near listing all the cruise lines in the world, unless one has a particularly rigid definition of “cruise line.”