What were the most notable cruise lines throughout history?


CLShadow

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Feb 16, 2014
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For the past few months now, I've been attempting to do research on cruise lines throughout history in order to begin work on a comic series which will be simultaneously a satirical, educational, and allegorical story about Maritime History (with a heavy focus on the History of the Cruise Line industry). However, due to the nature of how many Cruise Lines were in operation during the years leading up to modern times, it's somewhat difficult to pin down which lines should deserve more focus then others and which Cruise Lines which were notable in their day have been forgotten now and deserve to be brought back to the public conscious.

To that end, I decided to ask here a simple question: Who were the most notable Cruise Lines throughout history? Some answers I know are obvious: White Star Line, Cunard, P&O, Holland America, HAPAG, Norddeutscher Lloyd, United States Lines to name a few. However, I know that history is richer then that and I really want a clearer image on the trends and the names of companies that made the biggest impact on history through the years for this project.

So if possible, can you divide the lines by eras (as in Pre-WWI, 20's, 30's, 40's... leading up to modern day)? List as many as possible if they contributed a lasting memory or deserve to be remembered in some way. Repeated names are obviously welcomed to show trends in the changes on who were the top companies around.
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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Who were the most notable Cruise Lines throughout history?
First, a terminology issue: The lines you mention, during most of their existence, were not "cruise lines." A cruise is a trip taken for pleasure and although White Star and Cunard, at least, ran some cruises, their principal business was transportation, not cruising. White Star would never have been called a "cruise line;" Cunard would probably not have been called a "cruise line" until some point in the 1960's at the earliest.
Some answers I know are obvious: White Star Line, Cunard, P&O, Holland America, HAPAG, Norddeutscher Lloyd, United States Lines to name a few.
Except for P&O, those are certainly some of the main lines on the North Atlantic (although USL was a relative latecomer when compared to the others) but there were many others, both on the North Atlantic and on other routes. For a small sampling take a look at Great Ships (Great Ships - Index); for a more comprehensive list try The Ships List (Shipping Company Fleet Lists).
 

CLShadow

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Feb 16, 2014
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I apologize for my flub, I was aware I wasn't using the right word for it, but I was also having trouble thinking of the right word to use, so thank you very much for correcting me. Also, thank you for directing me to those links, they certainly are comprehensive and the Great Ships link will help me immensely.

As a more general and personal opinion, any particular shipping line or great ship in particular would anyone on here like to see in the comic? Before you ask, yes, White Star Line and Titanic will feature prominently in this series of mine because of how prominent they are in popular culture and thus would be an interesting way to have people eventually learn about the other lines through it.