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A key overview of Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company


Jan. 14 2015, Updated 10:00 a.m. ET

Carnival Corporation: An overview

Carnival Corporation (CCL), incorporated in Panama in 1972, is the largest cruise company in the world. The company operates 101 cruise ships that travel to popular destinations in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia under ten brands. It has a global market share of ~47%.

Carnival expanded its operations in various segments of the cruise industry, including contemporary, premium, and luxury cruise services by acquiring various brands. Some of the popular brands Carnival Corporation acquired include premium operator Holland America Line in 1989, luxury brand Seabourn in 1992, Italian-based and Europe’s number-one cruise operator Costa Cruises in 1997, and premium and luxury operator Cunard Line in 1998.

Further details of the company’s key milestones are provided in the chart below.

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A dual-listed company

Carnival Plc was incorporated in England and Wales in 2000. Carnival Corporation and Carnival Plc operate as a dual-listed company. Carnival Corporation’s (CCL) shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (or NYSE), and Carnival Plc shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange. Shares of Carnival Plc are traded on the NYSE as American Depository Receipts (or ADRs).

Carnival Corporation’s (CCL) primary competitors are Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH). The PowerShares Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment Portfolio (PEJ) holds 5.5% in Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., 5% in Carnival Corporation, and 2.8% in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

Other ETFs that hold cruise liner stocks include the PowerShares Dynamic Large Cap Growth Portfolio (PWB) and the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY). Carnival Corporation (CCL) also competes with land-based vacation alternatives throughout the world, including hotels, resorts, theme parks, organized tours, casinos, and vacation ownership properties.


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