Setting Up Your Own Cruise Line? Piece Of Cake, Right?

Picture the scene. You’ve inherited a fortune of $1 Billion from a long lost relative whom you never knew were that successful. What would you spend all the lovely dosh on? New cars? New houses? Mmm… perhaps. But if you were cruise ship daft (like us) wouldn’t you want to create your own cruise line? Heck yeah, surely it would be easy peasy with a fortune like that? Right?…….

Well, it might not be as simple as that. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.

Well, first things first. What would your cruise line be called? To get that off the ground, you need a name and something that is orginal. You can just take an existing cruise line and tweak their name to suit yours. For example, you couldn’t take Royal Caribbean International and call your line International Caribbean Royal. That would be too close and we’re pretty sure you may have a law-suit on your hands from the word go. Mmmmm…. not very wise and could prove costly exercise.

So, after avoiding a law suit, you’ve finally managed to get your name for your new cruise line and it has been registered with the relevant authorities. Well, it’s time to start thinking about who your team is going to be. You can’t really expect to run a company all by yourself surely? No, that would be pretty naive and stupid. So, you’re gonna have to employ a work force who are going to help run your company. There will have to be a structure in place for hierarchy and management too. To try and bring in extra revenue, you’d perhaps be best considering shares and stocks to try and bring in investment. A board of directors is then required too. Now, in terms of staff and management, this is just the shore side people and we haven’t looked at on board crew and staff yet! Gulp…. this is quite strenuous and expensive.

And we have our name for our new cruiseline.

Alongside having a team in place, we need premises to work from. Registered headquarters don’t come cheap and to be based near a major cruise port will be more logical but a heck of a lot more expensive. This is where the bulk of the shoreside staff and management will be working from, so best to get quite a large building, rather than be stuck in a pokey one room office.

So far, we have a name for the cruise line.  We have a team in place, including staff and management and also a board of directors. We also have premises for the registered headquarters. So, the money is beginning to go down but hey, we had a $1 Billion to work from, so we should be alright.

Well, next step would be to either acquire second hand cruise ships or to build brand new ones. This is where the financial pain will kick in. The cheaper option would be acquire cruise ships that are already in service or had been in layup. Hey, depending on the size of ships you want, you could get a few cruise ships for a knock down price. Certainly for a start out company, this would be a sensible option to look at. On the other hand, we could put all our eggs into one basket and go down the route of building a new cruise ship. Considering they cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build, this would severely restrict you going forward in terms of fincances. Unless the ships are very small that you are building, this would be pretty naive to do for a start up cruise line.

Would you build a new ship, like Princess Cruises, Majestic Princess? Image: Princess Cruises.
Or would you purchase older ships just like CMV’s Columbus? Image: Cruisemarsh

With the cruise ship or cruise ships bought/built, our fortune has taken quite a hit. Now we need to find a crew/crews to take charge of the ships. This will be a costly exercise with wages to pay and training programmes to undertake. But hey’ we’ve got them! Another one less thing to worry about.

Itineraries need to be planned for the cruises and negotiations between our company and the ports that we hope to sail to would have to take place, in order for us to get permission to sail there. With that, there are port taxes and fees that we would have to pay for too. This would happen before the ships were ready to be put into service as can take a while to procure dates in various ports of call.

So. we’ve got our itineraries, our ships, our crew, our offices, our staff and management and our name for the cruise line. Things are beginning to take shape but we need a marketing department in order to get our product across. We need brochures to be printed, a team of digital marketers, people to come up with the pricing for the cruises and also a team of social media experts to connect with passengers online.

Supplying the ship/ships are of importance. Each time they end a cruise, food stocks, drinks etc have to be replenished. Re-fueling the ship too won’t be cheap too.

We are closer to the maiden voyage for the cruise ship/ships. However, there is still quite a few things to worry about before the ropes are singled up for departure. For instance, insurance being one thing, along with the employment of lawyers, specialists etc in case of any disputes.  Never take anything for granted.

Another key issue is to survive and to survive we have to make money. Make sure we’ve got our pricing structure correct and also keep the door open for potential investors. Investments are always welcome, especially when we are low on money.

Phew! Just about made it. We could have mentioned so much more about what all is entailed but I think we have got quite a few things to keep us busy in the meantime. Thank goodness though that this is all hypothetical…. otherwise we would need to go and take a lie down in a dark room to overcome the feelings of stress and fear.  Mind you, to inherit $1 Billion would be pretty cool. Drat, we can only dream, can’t we?


If you had the chance to start your own cruise line, how would you go about it? What would be the name of your cruise line and ship/s? Feel free to comment on our website or on our Facebook page. We would interested to read your ideas.


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