Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International (RCI), previously known as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), is a cruise line brand founded in 1968 in Norway and organised as a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) since 1997. Based in Miami, Florida, United States, it is the largest cruise line by revenue and second largest by passengers counts. In 2018, Royal Caribbean International controlled 19.2% of the worldwide cruise market by passengers and 14.0% by revenue. It also operates many of the world's largest ships; as of July 2019, the line operates twenty-six ships, including the four largest cruise ships in the world, and has six additional ships on order.
Company and brand history
Royal Caribbean's first ship, Song of Norway
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was founded in 1968 by three Norwegian shipping companies: Anders Wilhelmsen & Company, I.M. Skaugen & Company, and Gotaas Larsen. The newly created line put its first ship, the Song of Norway, into service two years later. A year later, the line added the Nordic Prince to the fleet and in 1972 it added the Sun Viking. In 1978, Song of Norway became Royal Caribbean's first passenger ship to be lengthened. This was accomplished via the insertion of an 85-foot (26 m) section to the vessel's severed center. Following the success of this work, Nordic Prince was also stretched in 1980. During the stretching on both ships, their sterns were modified. However the Sun Viking was not stretched or modified. In 1982 Royal Caribbean launched the Song of America, over twice the size of Sun Viking and at the time the third largest passenger vessel afloat (after the Norway and Queen Elizabeth 2).
Royal Caribbean's third ship, Sun Viking
In 1986, Royal Caribbean leased a coastal property in Labadie, Haiti, to be used as a private destination for its guests, renamed as Labadee. After a corporate restructuring in 1988, the line launched Sovereign of the Seas, the largest passenger vessel afloat at the time. That same year, Royal Caribbean also merged with Admiral Cruises. Two years later in 1990, Nordic Empress and Viking Serenade also entered service, while Royal Caribbean purchased a second private destination, Little Stirrup Cay, an island in the Bahamas, which they branded as CocoCay.
Majesty of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas in Nassau, Bahamas
The second and third Sovereign-class cruise ships Monarch of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas were delivered in 1991 and 1992 respectively.
Royal Caribbean went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1993. Over the next two years, the company experienced rapid growth, and it built a new corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida, and replaced the Nordic Prince with a new vessel, the Legend of the Seas.
Following these events, two new Vision-class vessels entered service, the Splendour of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. In 1996, the company contracted with Finland's Aker Finnyards for the construction of 130,000-ton vessels and, in 1997, the line's oldest ship, Song of Norway, was sold and two new Vision-class ships entered service, Rhapsody of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas.
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