Although most cruise passengers hail from the United States, it's common for cruise lines to register their ships in foreign countries -- often referred to as "flags of convenience" -- while headquartering themselves in America.
Below, we tell you where several of the most popular cruise lines' ships are flagged and where you can find their headquarters.
A member of the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. family, Azamara's ships are all registered in Malta. The line's headquarters can be found in Miami.
Carnival Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc, maintains offices in Miami. The majority of its fleet is registered in Panama, with a few vessels flying the flags of the Bahamas and Malta.
Celebrity Cruises is part of the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. family, with headquarters near Royal Caribbean's in Miami. Most of its vessels are registered in Malta, but a couple are flagged to the Bahamas. Its expedition ships are registered in Ecuador.
Part of Genting Hong Kong Ltd., Crystal Cruises has its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles. It has both a river cruising division and an ocean one that operates a mix of Bahamas- and Malta-flagged ships.
Like Disney's other mouse-themed operations, Disney Cruise Line (part of The Walt Disney Company) makes its home in Celebration, Florida -- about 30 minutes from Orlando. All of the line's ships are registered in the Bahamas.
Owned by Carnival Corp. & plc, Holland America Line's headquarters are in Seattle. All of its vessels are registered in the Netherlands.
Privately owned MSC Cruises is a division of the Mediterranean Shipping Company, a cargo shipping entity registered and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. (The office for its U.S. operations is in Fort Lauderdale.) Its fleet is largely flagged to Panama, but there are some Maltese and Italian exceptions.
Norwegian Cruise Line, which falls under the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings umbrella, has a home base in Miami. Its ships are largely Bahamas-flagged, with others registered in Panama. Its Pride of America ship, which sails solely around the Hawaiian islands, is the only mainstream cruise vessel to be registered in the United States.
Oceania Cruises falls under the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings umbrella. Its head offices are in Miami, and all but one of its ships are registered in the Marshall Islands. The remaining vessel is flagged to Gibraltar.
Although Princess' ships are mainly registered in Bermuda, a small number is U.K.-flagged. The line has its headquarters in Santa Clarita, near Los Angeles. Princess is part of Carnival Corp. & plc.
Regent sails most of its fleet under Bahamas registration, with the remaining vessels flagged to the Marshall Islands. The line is part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and it's based in Miami.
Royal Caribbean International, overseen by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., is headquartered in Miami, and its ships are registered in the Bahamas.
Falling under Carnival Corp. & plc's list of cruise brands, Seabourn sails a fleet of Bahamas-registered ships and has its headquarters in Seattle.
Silversea, in which Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. owns a majority share, flags most of its ships in the Bahamas, while its Galapagos vessels are flagged to Ecuador. The line's head office is in Monaco, but it operates a U.S. branch in Miami.
Privately held Viking Cruises, which operates both river and ocean divisions, is registered to do business in Basel, Switzerland, with U.S. headquarters in Woodland Hills, California -- about a half-hour from Los Angeles. Its river ships are flagged to Switzerland, and its oceangoing vessels are registered in Norway.
Learn more about who owns and operates your favorite cruise line.
Updated July 07, 2021