The 90s saw plenty of ships being launched, many of which are still sailing today or even were the first ships for what are now some of the world’s most popular cruise lines!

We decided to take a look back at the ships that launched the 1990s and see which vessels set sail in the nineties.


  • Royal Caribbean acquired Viking Serenade from Royal Admiral Cruises. The ship was converted from a cruiseferry into a cruise ship by the line and sailed for 12 years under Royal Caribbean.
  • Celebrity Cruises was formed! Their first ship, Meridian, joined the fleet in February and a second ship, Horizon, joined in May.
  • Fred. Olsen Lines also received MS Bayard, which sailed between Norway and Denmark. She was sold the following year and is now sailing as MS Moby ZazĂ  with the Italian shipping company, Moby Lines.
  • Carnival Fantasy completed her maiden voyage, though she was just called Fantasy back then. The ship was built as the lead ship of the Fantasy-class of ships for the line and was rebranded as Carnival Fantasy in 2007. She still sails for the line out of Alabama cruise port, Mobile as the oldest ship in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet!
  • The last ship to join the Royal Caribbean fleet without ‘of the Seas’ set sail in 199o. Nordic Empress was the first mainstream cruise ship designed for the three- and four-day cruise market. She was renamed in 2004 as Empress of the Seas and continues to sail for the line today!

Carnival Fantasy - Carnival Cruise Line


  • Another Carnival Cruise Line ship sets sail – Carnival Ecstasy. This ship was also launched without the prefix ‘Carnival‘ to her name, when she was christened by television hostess, entertainer and longtime Carnival spokesperson, Kathie Lee Gifford. She is still in operation with Carnival Cruise Line, sailing from ports in the US to the Caribbean.
  • Regal Princess also had her maiden voyage in 1991, not to be confused with the Regal Princess we know and love today! The initial Regal Princess was officially named by the former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in August ’91, from which the ship entered service for the Caribbean. She was eventually transferred to the P&O Australia fleet in 2007 where she was rebranded as Pacific Dawn for sailings to the South Pacific.
  • Monarch of the Seas set off on her maiden voyage as Royal Caribbean’s second ship in the third generation Sovereign Class. At her time of completion, Monarch of the Seas was one of the largest cruise ships in the world! She now operates under Pullmantur Cruises as MS Monarch.

Monarch of the Seas - Royal Caribbean

Chris Gent /, CC BY-SA 2.0


  • Adding a third ship to the fleet, Celebrity Cruises received their first new-build ship, Zenith, in 1992. She was used for sailings from Florida to the Caribbean and Bermuda islands, before being sold on to Pullmantur Cruises as MV Zenith.
  • Dreamward also set off on her maiden voyage this year, as the tenth ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. She was renamed Norwegian Dream in 1998, before being sold to Star Cruise and renamed SuperStar Gemini.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas joined the fleet in 1992, offering short sailings in the Caribbean from Florida. She also has a 1/8th scale model ship which launched in 2005 and offers river cruises around Paris!

Carnival Sensation - Carnival Cruise Line


  • Carnival Sensation joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in 1993, as the third ship in the Fantasy class. She still sails for the line today, offering short sailings in the Bahamas.
  • December 1993 saw Holland America Line’s MS Maasdam join the fleet as the Statendam Class, which she continues to sail in today. When launched, her class proved to be one of the world’s most technically advanced and optimised cruise ships in the world!
  • Norwegian Cruise Line also expanded its fleet with Windward, the sister-ship to Dreamward. In 1998, she was lengthened by 130-feet and renamed Norwegian Wind, before being transferred to Star Cruises as SuperStar Aquarius.

Couple on a balcony on-board Holland America


  • The fourth Fantasy-class ship joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Fascination was built in Helsinki and christened by Jeanne Farcus, wife of Joe Farcus – the interior designer behind most of the line’s fleet. She was renamed Carnival Fascination in 2007 following a line-wide rebrand.
  • Ryndam joined the Holland America Line as another ship in the Statendam Class. She was sold to P&O Cruises Australia in 2015 and renamed Pacific Aria where she continues to sail out of Australia ports year round.
  • MSC Cruises, then Lauro Lines, acquired two ships – Symphony and Monterey – ahead of her name change to MSC Cruises in 1995. Symphony retired in 2000 and Monterey in 2006.
  • Silversea’s Silver Cloud entered service as the cruise line’s first ship. She continues to sail for Silversea today and underwent a refurbishment in 2017 to become an expedition cruise ship.

Silver Cloud - Silversea


  • Celebrity Cruises’ Century-class launches with Century, to be renamed Celebrity Century in 2008. She was eventually passed to Marella Cruises to become Marella Explorer 2.
  • Another Fantasy-class ship also joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in 1995 as Imagination. She was renamed Carnival Imagination in 2007 and still sails on short sailings from California.
  • Crystal Symphony started sailing for Crystal Cruises in 1995 and is the longest-serving ship in the Crystal Cruises fleet, continuing to sail still today!
  • P&O Cruises’ first new ship joined the fleet as Oriana, now the smallest of seven ships currently in service. She also holds the Golden Cockerel as the fastest ship in the fleet, as well as the oldest and longest-serving.
  • Princess Cruises’ Sun Class launched with Sun Princess which, at the time of completion, was one of the largest cruise ships in the world. Sun Princess also starred on the TV show, Love Boat: The Next Wave in the late 90s.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas joined the fleet in 1995, to become one of the line’s most travelled ships having been based in Asia, Australia, South Pacific, Alaska, Central America, the Caribbean, the Baltics, the Mediterranean and the Middle East during her 19-year career! In 2016, Royal Caribbean sold the ship to Marella Cruises, then TUI Cruises, for her to be renamed Marella Discovery 2.
  • Joining sister-ship, Silver Cloud, Silversea’s Silver Wind set sail on her maiden voyage in 1995 and still operates with the line today.

Silver Wind - Silversea


  • At the start of ’96, Seabourn acquired Queen Odyssey from Royal Cruise Line and renamed her Seabourn Legend. During her service with the line, she was featured in the 1997 film Speed 2: Cruise Control starring Jason Patric, Sandra Bullock and William Defoe. She now operates under Windstar Cruises as Star Legend.
  • Galaxy entered service for Celebrity Cruises, alongside sister-ship Century, where she operated week-long Caribbean itineraries. In 1998, Galaxy was the setting of BBC’s The Cruise, which made Jane McDonald famous! She was renamed Celebrity Galaxy in 2008, before being sold to Marella Cruises in 2017 as Marella Explorer.
  • Carnival Cruise Line launched the first passenger ever built to be over 100,000 tons – known as Carnival Destiny – the lead ship of the Sunshine Class. In 2013, Carnival Destiny was renamed Carnival Sunshine following major renovations. She continues to sail to the Caribbean for the line today.
  • Another Carnival Cruise ship joining the fleet in 1996 was Carnival Inspiration, then just Inspiration. She was renamed Carnival Inspiration in 2007.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s Westward was sold to Fred. Olsen in 1996 to become Black Watch, currently the longest-serving ship still in operation for the line.
  • MS Veendam was launched for Holland America Line, named after the capital of Northern Netherland’s peat colonies. She still sails for the line today, cruising to South America as well as Canada & New England.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas launched the line’s Vision Class in 1996, of which she still continues to operate under. Splendour of the Seas also joined the Vision Class, though she was sold to Marella Cruises in 2016 to become Marella Discovery.

Splendour of the Seas - Royal Caribbean

Daniel Dudek /, CC BY 2.0


  • The second Century-class ship for Celebrity Cruises joined in 1997 as Mercury. She was renamed by the cruise line in 2008 to Celebrity Mercury, then eventually sold to Marella Cruises as Mein Schiff Herz where she operates beside sister-ship Marella Explorer, former Celebrity Galaxy!
  • Holland America Line’s lead ship of the Rotterdam Class launched in ’97 as MS Rotterdam. She was the sixth ship in the fleet to bear the name, after SS Rotterdam (1959) and the city. She continues to sail for the line around Europe and South America.
  • 1997 also saw MSC Cruises acquire StarShip Atlantic to become Melody. In 2012, MSC Cruises retired the ship where she was sold, renamed Qing and converted into floating accommodation. In 2016, the ship was sold again, this time for demolition and scrapping.
  • Princess Cruises welcomed Dawn Princess to the fleet in ’97, built as a Sun-class ship and sister-ship to Sun Princess and Sea Princess. She was eventually sold to P&O Cruises Australia and renamed Pacific Explorer in 2017 when she was christened by Dora the Explorer!
  • Saga acquired the Sagafjord in 1997 and renamed her Saga Rose. She sailed for the line until 2009 when she failed to meet the required regulations. Saga Rose was eventually moved to the Yangtze River where she was sadly scrapped in 2011. The ship still holds the world records for the most world cruises ever completed by a ship – at 44 altogether!

Rhapsody of the Seas - Royal Caribbean


  • Paradise joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in ’98, later to be renamed Carnival Paradise in line with the cruise line’s fleetwide rebrand. She was initially launched as the world’s first completely non-smoking cruise ship, though Carnival Cruise Line discontinued this due to poor revenue. She continues to sail today, offering short sailings to the Caribbean and Mexico.
  • Elation also joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet this year, and too underwent the rebrand to Carnival Elation in 2007. The ship was the first to be fitted with Azipod propulsion units – offering better fuel efficiency.
  • Princess Cruises also welcomed a ship to the fleet this year with Grand Princess. At the time, she was the largest and most expensive passenger ship every built and the flagship of the Princess Cruises’ fleet until Royal Princess took the title in 2013.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Vision Class further expanded with the addition of Vision of the Seas – the last in the class. She continues to sail for the line on Northern European, the Caribbean and North American itineraries.
  • Disney Cruise Line’s first ship, Disney Magic, launched. Her godmother is Patricia Disney, former wife of Walt Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney. The ships were the first in the industry to be designed and built as family cruise liners, with the goal of accommodating parents and children.

Disney Magic - Disney Cruise Line

Tony Hisgett /, CC BY 2.0


  • In the last year of the 90s, Carnival Cruise Line welcomed Carnival Triumph. Earlier this year, she underwent a $200m refurbishment and was renamed Carnival Sunrise.
  • Disney Cruise Line’s second ship to join the fleet was Disney Wonder, almost identical to her fleet mate, Disney Magic. She offers cruises to North America and will homeport in New Orleans from 2020.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky joined the fleet in 1999 as part of the Sun Class. She was later renamed Pride of Aloha in 2004, before returning to her original name in 2008 as we continue to see her today.
  • 1999 also saw Regent Seven Seas Cruises, then Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, launch Seven Seas Navigator. 90% of her staterooms had private verandas and the ship even featured in the movie, After the Sunset, starring Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek.
  • Voyager of the Seas joined the Royal Caribbean cruise fleet as the lead ship in the Voyager Class. Upon departing on her maiden voyage, Voyager of the Seas was the largest cruise ship in the world, to be overtaken the following year by Explorer of the Seas. Voyager of the Seas was the first ship in the fleet to include a rock-climbing wall and the first ice-skating rink at sea.
  • 1999 was the year Seabourn acquired Royal Viking Sun for the Royal Viking Line, where she was renamed Seabourn Sun. However, shortly after, Seabourn transferred the ship to Holland America Line as Prinsendam, so that they could concentrate on smaller vessels.

Explorer of the Seas - Royal Caribbean

Have you sailed on any of these ships or cruise lines? Did you cruise in the 1990s? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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