Who Owns Royal Caribbean – All You Need to Know

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Formerly called Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Royal Caribbean Group operates globally and was incorporated in Liberia while based in Miami, Florida. After Carnival Cruise Line, it is the second largest cruise line.

As of January 2021, it owns three cruise lines: Royal Caribbean International, Silversea Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises. They also have a 50% stake in TUI cruises, CDF Croisières de France, and Pullmantur Cruises. So, who owns Royal Caribbean?

The History

This group was originally called Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Things changed in 1997 when it bought Celebrity Cruises. The decision was made to keep the two brands separate following the initial merger. The company was later rebranded to Royal Caribbean International because of this decision. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd was made the parent company of both brands. 

In 2000, Island Cruises formed as a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and First Choice Holidays. It became a type of informal line for the Brazilian and British markets. 

Another acquisition occurred in 2006 with the purchase of Pullmantur Cruises in Spain. Following this purchase, Royal Caribbean experienced a rapid expansion by creating Azamara Cruises. Azamara Cruises became a subsidiary of its Celebrity Cruises branch in 2007. May 2008 saw the company form CDF Croisieres de France to reach the French-speaking markets.

Royal Caribbean Offices, PortMiami
Royal Caribbean Offices, PortMiami (Photo Credit: byvalet / Shutterstock)

In 2009, they expanded into the German market by acquiring shares in TUI Cruises. The subsidiary of TUI Cruise, TUI Travel, contained 50% interest in Island Cruises after merging with First Choice Holidays. Holdings were rationalized by selling TUI Island Cruises. 

A joint venture was announced in 2019 with ITM Group, which led to the formation of Holistica to develop cruise destinations. The only area they want to establish is Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport. The hotel campus had been sold to a subsidiary of the Bahamian Government.

Royal Caribbean Cruises bought the remaining Silversea Cruises shares in 2020. They changed the logo and renamed themselves Royal Caribbean Group. They later sold Azamara Cruises to Sycamore Partners for $201 million

Just recently, in 2022, they obtained court approval to buy Endeavor, a former ship for Crystal Cruise, for $275 million. It will later be renamed Silver Endeavor when it joins the Silversea Cruise fleet.

Who Owns Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean International and its numerous subsidiaries fall under the Royal Caribbean Group banner. They have a fleet of 64 cruise ships and travel to 1,000 destinations around the world.  

Capital Research & Management owns the most shares in Royal Caribbean. Capital is a large investment group formed in 1931 with $2.6 trillion in assets in its portfolio. Currently, they own 16% of the cruise company.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock

Even this 16% ownership is split between several branches within the group—Capital Research & Management Company’s international investors have an 11.66% stake. The remaining top ten of their shareholders are large investment groups like JPMorgan, The Vanguard Group, and several others.

Who was the Founder of Royal Caribbean International?

Royal Caribbean International was founded in 1968 in Norway by three shipping companies. These founding companies were IM Skaugen & Company, Anders Wilhelmsen & Company, and Gotaas Larsen. Song of Norway was their first ship, which launched two years later. Nordic Prince was added one year later, and Sun Viking followed in 1972. 

In 1978, Song of Norway was the first cruise ship to be lengthened by adding an 85-foot section to a severed center of the ship. Since this project was so successful, the company decided to do the same to Nordic Prince two years later. During the modification, the sterns were changed, creating additional space. The only ship that wasn’t changed was Sun Viking.

Song of Norway, Legendary Cruise Ships
© Tony Garner/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 4.0

The group that founded Royal Caribbean later listed itself on the New York Stock Exchange before becoming the Royal Caribbean Group. This same group later incorporated the company in Liberia.

The company chose to incorporate in Liberia to avoid paying U.S. taxes and having to follow the labor and wage laws of the country. This is the same logic that several cruise lines adopt by registering themselves in countries like the Bahamas.

Who Is the CEO of Royal Caribbean?

Michael Bayley is president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. The president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group is Jason Liberty. 

What Is the Net Worth of Royal Caribbean?

There is no listed net worth for Royal Caribbean International. However, Royal Caribbean Group had a net worth of $11.93 billion in September 2022. This number places it ahead of Carnival Group by $1 billion.

Does the Company Have Stock?

Royal Caribbean Group does have stock, and the New York Stock Exchange lists them as RCL. Royal Caribbean International, however, does not have stock. Currently, Royal Caribbean Group contains the highest value for cruise line stocks for people to invest in.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

If you make an investment and purchase 100 shares, you receive shareholder benefits when you cruise on one of their Royal Caribbean ships. This also applies to Celebrity Cruises, except for cruises to the Galapagos Islands.

Shareholder benefits include:

  • $250 onboard credit per stateroom for cruises lasting 14 nights or longer
  • $100 onboard credit per stateroom for cruises lasting 6-13 nights
  • $50 onboard credit per stateroom for cruises lasting five nights or less

To claim these benefits, stakeholders should apply through the Royal Caribbean website. You will need to provide proof of your shares. 

How Are Shares Purchased?

Shares are purchased using a stockbroker. They may be a licensed stockbroker or smartphone/laptop platforms. You will need to find a platform that deals with the NYSE and make a request to purchase RCL stock.

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

Stockbrokers tend to cost more; however, they will offer you advice. This is usually better for those who need help deciding what to invest in. However, if you understand the risks, going through the online stockbroker platform tends to be cheaper. 


Three shipping companies originally founded Royal Caribbean. Through diligent work and strategic expansion efforts, they quickly morphed into a vast empire enjoyed by millions of cruisers each year. Royal Caribbean continues to stay on the top of the cruise line empire by continually adapting itself to suit changing times.

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