In 2007, Carnival Corp. announced the creation of Iberocruceros, a joint venture in conjunction with major Spanish travel company Orizonia Corporacion consisting of three ships. Two -- the 1,244 passenger Grand Mistral and the 834-passenger Grand Voyager -- came from Orizonia's own fleet.
The third ship came from Carnival Cruise Lines
. The 1,486-passenger Celebration was added to the Iberocruceros fleet in late spring 2008.
While the original deal had Carnival owning 75 percent of the joint venture and Orizonia owning the remaining 25 percent, Carnival Corp. signed an agreement in May 2009 to pick up the remaining 25 percent. The company is based in Madrid, and Carnival Corporation's Pier Luigi Foschi, who already oversees Costa Cruises
, heads the venture.
Spain is one of the fastest growing cruise markets. In 2006, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., owner of Celebrity Cruises
and Royal Caribbean International
, acquired Pullmantur
, Spain's largest cruise line. It's got a fleet of six ships, including the former Celebrity Zenith and Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas, which have since been transferred there.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief