There are amazing cruise lines that have come and gone, but a lot of them were forgotten. Here is the list of 14 Forgotten Cruise Lines – some still exist while others faded into obscurity entirely!

The “premier cruise line” is a company that offers cruises to destinations all over the world. They are known for their high-quality service, and their luxury ships.

14 Forgotten Cruise Lines

When someone mentions a cruise line, most of us immediately think of the industry’s biggest names. Some of us have extensive sailing experience and can therefore identify a number of smaller cruise lines.

Many cruise lines from the past were once at the top of their game, but for a variety of reasons, they went out of business or merged, only to be forgotten.

History lovers will like this: I present 14 old cruise lines that you may have never heard of or have forgotten about. Some of the ships may be familiar to you.

Admiral Cruises (No. 1)

azure seas western cruise line admiral cruisesWestern Cruise Line’s Azure Seas (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia/Rich Turnwald)

Admiral Cruises was created in 1986 when three cruise companies merged: Eastern Cruise Lines, Western Cruise Lines, and Sundance Cruise Lines. It cruised on the east and west coasts of the United States. Each line had just one ship when they merged, resulting in a three-ship fleet.

The line announced in 1988 that it had placed an order for a new ship dubbed Future Seas. Admiral Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines combined in the same year. The order for Future Seas was transferred to Royal Caribbean shortly after the merger, and she launched in 1990 as the line’s ship Nordic Empress. Empress of the Seas was her new name in 2004.

The Sundance Cruise Lines ship Stardancer was likewise transferred to Royal Caribbean in 1990 and renamed Viking Serenade.

The Admiral Cruises brand was discontinued in late 1991, and the two remaining ships — Azure Seas and Emerald Seas — were sold.

Commodore Cruise Line is number two.

ms Caribe as Discovery Sun for Discovery Cruise Line - photo: Jon Worth via Wikipedia As Discovery, ms Caribe Discovery Cruise Line’s Sun (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia/Jon Worth)

Commodore Cruise Line commenced operations in 1966, the same year as Norwegian Caribbean Line (now Norwegian Cruise Line). Wallenius Lines purchased a ferry that had been ordered by Lion Ferry but had been canceled.

This was beneficial to Commodore since they were able to make a deal with Wallenius, who completed the ferry as a cruise liner and rented it to Commodore. It was the first firm to provide year-round week-long cruises from Florida. Commodore Cruise Line was bought by Rederi Ab Sally in the years after, and the business acquired several ships for Commodore before reverting to just one ship.

Rederi Ab Sally was sold to Effoa and Johnson Line in 1987, and the two companies ultimately amalgamated to become EffJohn. Later, EffJohn decided to unite Bermuda Star Line with Commodore, gaining a few additional ships in the process. Commodore was sold to JeMJ Financial Services in 1995, and its activities were continuing.

After facing stiff competition, Commodore Cruise Line filed for bankruptcy in January 2001.

Crown Cruise Line is number three.

Crown Dynasty in Key West in April 1995. Photo by Ray Blazevic via WikipediaIn April 1995, the Crown Dynasty visited Key West. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia/Ray Blazevic)

This tiny, upper-class cruise operator, situated in Boca Raton, Florida, was started in 1984. Viking Princess was their first ship, and it was based in San Diego before moving to Palm Beach for Bahamas cruises. In 1986, the line purchased a second ship from a Spanish shipping business and refitted her to become a cruise ship.

In 1990, the Port of Palm Beach erected a 45,000 terminal for Crown when another ship joined the line. Consumer spending on cruise holidays was hampered by the recession and the Gulf War in 1991, and the company had to reduce its operations.

Crown Cruise Line’s parent firm, Grundstad Maritime, divided the business in half, with one half becoming Palm Beach Cruises and the other becoming Commodore Cruise Line.

Crown Cruise Line had five ships of its own before the company went bankrupt, and they were all leased or sold to other companies. In 2001, the cruise line was declared defunct.

4. Cruise & Maritime Voyages

marco polo cruise & maritime voyagesPjotr Mahhonin/Wikipedia photo of Marco Polo

Cruise & Maritime Services International formed Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) in 2009 after its German-based Transocean Tours cruise line filed for bankruptcy. The British line marketed itself towards a more mature audience, being a more traditional line on smaller ocean ships and river ships and requiring that passengers be 16 or older.

In 2009 and 2010, Cruise & Maritime Voyages chartered its first two ships: Marco Polo (originally built as an ocean liner) and Ocean Countess. Marco Polo had a particularly unique history, launching as the Aleksandr Pushkin ocean liner for one of the three main shipping companies in the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The vessel was actually chartered to Transocean Tours back in 1979, and then changed hands multiple times after that.

The vessel was bought by Global Maritime Group in 2008, and she was chartered to Transocean Tours once again, which is how she came to be chartered by CMV.

From 2013 to 2019, Cruise & Maritime Voyages slowly added and replaced ships, none of which were new builds. In total, the line operated 10 vessels, though not all simultaneously.

They included the former 1972-built Island Princess, Carnival’s Holiday, the former 1989-built Star Princess, and Holland America’s 1992-built Statendam (also formerly Pacific Eden for P&O Cruises Australia).

Cruise & Maritime Voyages had itineraries all over the world, but most were focused in the British Isles, northern Europe, Australia, and Mexico.

Due to the pandemic, CMV, like the rest of the cruise industry, ceased operations in March 2020. The cruise company was said to be nearing bankruptcy in July 2020 and was searching for more cash.

Attempts to secure financing failed, and Cruise & Maritime Voyages officially entered administration on July 20, 2020.

At the time, an auction house purchased four of the company’s five boats, which were then sold to other shipping firms or scrapped. The fifth ship was chartered and did not belong to CMV.

5. Travel west

spirit of endeavor glacier bay national park uncruise In Glacier Bay National Park, the Spirit of Endeavour serves as the Safari Endeavour for UnCruise Adventures (Photo by Diego Delso, delso.photo, License CC-BY-SA)

Cruise West was a small cruise service established in Seattle, Washington that specialized on destination cruises. Chuck West established the line in 1973 as a travel operator in Alaska. The 52-guest Spirit of Glacier Bay became the company’s first overnight vessel in 1990.

Though Alaska remained the company’s primary emphasis at the time and throughout its existence, it started to branch out into other places such as the Snake and Columbia rivers, Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, and California’s coastal areas.

The former Renaissance Cruises’ Spirit of Oceanus became Cruise West’s first ocean-going ship in 2001. Then, in collaboration with Costa Rica’s Temptress Cruise Lines, the service extended to Central America, offering trips aboard the 100-passenger M/V Pacific Explorer.

The 102-passenger Nantucket Clipper and the 138-passenger Yorktown Clipper were bought by Cruise West in 2006 and renamed Spirit of Nantucket and Spirit of Yorktown, respectively. The Spirit of Nantucket spent two seasons on the east coast and in the Great Lakes before joining the rest of the fleet on the Pacific Coast. She was later renamed Spirit of Glacier Bay, making her the line’s second vessel to wear that name.

Cruise West operated nine small ships across the Americas, the South Pacific, and Asia during its existence.

The line announced a restructure under new management on September 8, 2010, and all new reservations were halted. It stated that it will shut down on September 18.

UnCruise Adventures, a tiny Alaskan cruise service, bought Spirit of Endeavour and Spirit of ’98 from Cruise West and renamed them Safari Endeavour and S.S. Legacy, respectively.

MORE: 9 Cruise Concepts That Failed to Take Off

Dolphin Cruise Lines, No. 6

dolphin cruise lines seabreeze miamiSeaBreeze of Dolphin Cruise Lines in Miami (photo courtesy of René Beauchamp/Wikipedia)

Dolphin Cruise Lines was established in 1984 by a Greek company. In the 1970s, the Ulysses Line operated the ships Ithaca and Calypso in the Mediterranean and Atlantic Isles, which were largely sold by UK tour operator Thomson.

Because Thomson’s contract with Ulysses was not renewed, the two ships were hired to other cruise lines. Ithaca was renamed Dolphin IV in 1979 and was first marketed by Paquet Cruises before being sold to the newly formed Dolphin Cruise Line.

Through 1996, the line added three more ships to its fleet. In 1997, Premier Cruise Line purchased Dolphin Cruise Lines, and the three surviving Dolphin ships were combined with Premier’s ships to create the Premier Cruise Line fleet.

7. Fathom

fathom adonia amber coveThe Adonia of Fathom has arrived at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic.

Fathom was founded by Carnival Corporation as a cruise company that would provide “social impact travel” voyages from Miami to the Caribbean. Volunteer opportunities were available on the line’s trips with existing groups on the ground in the places it visited.

The P&O Cruises ship Adonia was reassigned to Fathom, and became the line’s first (and only) dedicated cruise ship.

Adonia cruised to Cuba and the Dominican Republic throughout the remainder of the cruise line’s operation. When the ship stopped in Havana in May 2016, it was the first time a U.S. cruise company has sailed from the United States to Cuba in almost 50 years.

In 2017, the Fathom brand discontinued cruise line operations, and Adonia returned to P&O Cruises.

The volunteer-based shore excursions that made Fathom unique were continued through 2018 on other Carnival Corporation cruise lines, including AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and P&O Cruises.

The Fathom brand was completely phased out in January 2019.

Cruises to Festivals

The Azur - photo: Carlo Martinelli via Wikipedia(Photo courtesy of Carlo Martinelli/Wikipedia)

George Poulides launched this Greek cruise service in 1992, employing second-hand ships. After purchasing The Azur from Chandris Cruises and Starward from Norwegian Cruise Line the following year, which Festival renamed Bolero, it commenced operations.  

The line’s first new build was in 1999, called Mistral.  In 2000, Festival announced they were merging into Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), with the Festival brand being maintained under P&O.  The merger plan was abandoned later that year, though, and two more Mistral-class ships were built in 2001 and 2002.

The business had the opportunity to build two more, but chose not to; nonetheless, the Mistral-class ships were constructed for MSC Cruises as Lirica and Opera. Festival Cruises went bankrupt in 2004, and all of its surviving ships were auctioned off to other cruise companies.

Ibero Cruises (nine)

Grand Mistral Ibero CruisesMistral Grand (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia/Pjotr Mahhonin)

Ibero Cruises, also known as Ibero Cruceros in Spanish, was created in 2003 as the cruise subsidiary of Iberojet, a travel reseller. The company, which was based in Madrid, Spain, catered to the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking markets, sailing across Europe and South America.

The business began with a single ship, the Grand Mistral, which was purchased from the defunct Festival Cruises. Grand Latino was bought from Royal Viking Line, while Grand Voyager was acquired from Royal Olympic Cruises in 2004.

Viajes Iberojet was rebranded Ibero Cruises in 2007 after becoming a joint subsidiary of Carnival Corporation and Orizonia Corporation.

In 2008, the Carnival cruise ship Celebration was sold to Ibero Cruises and renamed Grand Celebration. Another ship, the Holiday, was transferred from Carnival Cruise Line to Ibero in 2009 and renamed Grand Holiday.

Costa Cruises, another Carnival Corporation brand, stated in 2014 that it will acquire Ibero Cruises by the end of the year. Ibero Cruises had already sold all but two of its ships at this time.

Grand Celebration was transferred to Costa’s main fleet as Costa Celebration, and Grand Holiday was transferred to the British operator Cruise & Maritime Voyages as the Magellan.

Majesty Cruise Line is number ten.

norwegian majesty bermudaThe Norwegian Majesty, moored in Bermuda (photo courtesy of Captain-tucker/Wikipedia).

Dolphin Cruise Line established Majesty Cruise Line in 1992 as a more upscale choice for its passengers. The line’s first ship, Royal Majesty, was initially ordered by rival Birka Line, but when the constructor went bankrupt, the contract was transferred to Majesty.

The ship began by offering three- and four-night trips from Florida, before launching a route from Boston to St. George’s, Bermuda, in 1995. Royal Majesty returned to Florida for the winter.

Majesty purchased a second ship, Crown Dynasty, from Crown Cruise Line in 1997 and renamed her Crown Majesty. She cruised the same itineraries for the remainder of the season as she had for her previous cruise company.

Both ships were handed over to Norwegian Cruise Line at the conclusion of the 1997 season, when Majesty Cruise Line consolidated with that company.

MORE: Where Are 11 Former Carnival Ships Now?

Premier Cruises (#11)

Premier Cruise Line's Big Red Boat I via WikipediaThe Big Red Boat of Premier Cruise Line (Photo via Wikipedia)

Kristian Stensby founded this cruise line in the early 1990s with a focus on new geographic areas that the larger cruise lines weren’t concentrating on at the time. They mostly catered to Europeans and South Americans on their trips. Premier Cruise Line, Seawind Cruise Line, and Dolphin Cruise Line were the three companies that made up the company.

Stensby expanded the firm from one to six ships, making it the world’s biggest private cruise line in 1997. Pullmantur, Thomson Holidays, TUI, and others were among Premier’s numerous travel partners.

Premier’s business strategy altered after 1997, and these agreements were discontinued. When the deal was dissolved, a number of the partners opted to take the chance to start their own cruise companies, such as Pullmantur Cruises. Thomson Vacations likewise took advantage of the chance to grow and develop.

Premier Cruises filed into bankruptcy in late 2000 and terminated operations.

Cruises by Renaissance

R One as ms Insignia via Wikipediams Insignia as R One (Photo via Wikipedia)

Renaissance Cruises was founded in 1989 by Fearnley & Eger Rederi in Oslo, Norway, and was later bought by Edward Rudner during the Gulf War.  The cruise line had eight Renaissance-class yacht-like ships between 1989 and 1998.

They were called Renaissance I through Renaissance VIII and each carried roughly 100 people. The Greek Islands, Tahiti, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, northern Europe, and Scandinavia were all destinations for Renaissance Cruises.

The R class was the company’s other ship class, and they were more cruise ship sized. They were also given the moniker “R (number).” During their time in service, they had eight ships, R One through R Eight.  

They were all constructed between 1998 and 2001 and were the cruise line’s pride and joy. By 2001, the cruise line had been in financial problems for some time, and the September 11 terrorist events were the last straw.

Almost all of their previous ships are now rented or in service with other cruise lines.

13. Viking Line Royal

Royal Viking Star in 1990 - photo: Terageorge via Wikipedia In 1990, the Royal Viking Star (photo courtesy of Terageorge/Wikipedia).

The Royal Viking Line was founded in 1972, and each of its first three ships was owned by one of the company’s early investors. The ships were all constructed in Finland and weighed in at roughly 21,000 GRT. The ships were lengthened and extra rooms were installed in 1980. Royal Viking was sold to Norwegian Caribbean Line in 1984 by the two firms that controlled it, and the headquarters were relocated from San Francisco to Coral Gables, Florida.

A new ship was constructed for Royal Viking under the new ownership, the Royal Viking Queen, which was completed in 1992. Two ships were renamed Norwegian Cruise Line in 1990-91, while another was renamed Royal Cruise Line in 1993.

Knut Kloster (the owner of Norwegian) ran into financial difficulties in 1994, and Royal Viking Line was disbanded. Some of the ships were sold to Cunard, and the Royal Viking Sun was united with four other ships to establish the Cunard Royal Viking Line, which operated until 1998.

All of Cunard’s ships were combined under the Cunard Line name in the same year.

Two of the former Royal Viking ships (the Royal Viking Sea and Royal Viking Sky) have been demolished, while the rest are now owned by different firms. Cunard no longer operates any of the ships.

White Star Line (#14)

The ship TitanicThe ship Titanic

The White Star Line of Boston Packets, or simply White Star Line, was a well-known British maritime line. It was created in Liverpool in 1845 and operated a fleet of clipper ships between the United Kingdom and Australia. In 1863, the company purchased its first steamer, the Royal Standard.

Millions of people emigrated from Europe to Canada and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and White Star was one of the first shipping companies to carry passenger ships, with the Oceanic-class ships that started service in 1870.

In April 1912, the most famous maritime accident in history occurred to one of White Star Line’s ships, The ship Titanic.  After boasting that they had built an unsinkable ship, during its crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, The ship Titanic collided with an iceberg and sunk.  She took 1,502 passengers and crew down with her.

In the depths of the Great Depression, both White Star and its main rival, Cunard, were in significant financial problems in 1933. Because the cruise firms combined their North Atlantic operations, the British government agreed to assist them. They agreed, and on December 30, 1933, it became official.

Cunard-White Star Limited was their name for a period, but in 1947, Cunard purchased the section of the line that they didn’t control, as well as all assets and operations in 1949, and on January 1, 1950, they returned to only the name “Cunard.”

This post was first published in June of 2016. In May 2022, it was updated and republished.

READ NEXT: 10 Money-Saving Tips And Secrets The Cruise Lines Usually Don’t Inform You

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14 forgotten cruise lines

Norwegian Cruise Line is one of the 14 forgotten cruise lines. Norwegian Cruise Lines is known for its luxury and style, but it has been around since the 1950s. The company was founded by a man named John F. Mecom Jr., who started the line in Miami with his wife, Margarita López de Mecam. Reference: norwegian cruise line.

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