How to NAME a CRUISE SHIP? How cruise ship & ocean liner names tell you a lot about their owners!

How to NAME a CRUISE SHIP? How cruise ship & ocean liner names tell you a lot about their owners!

How do Cruise Lines name their new cruise ships? And why do they reuse the same cruise ship names so often? And why are some names – like Titanic and Lusitania – never reused in cruise ships?

Why are the Cunard ships named after Queens? Why did White Star ships have names like Olympic, Titanic, Britannic? Why are Holland America’s Cruise ships named with words ending in ‘dam’ and why did Carnival Cruise Line name their two new ships Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration?

When Cunard Line established ocean voyages in 1840, they adopted a naming convention that saw the majority of their liners names end in “ia”. Similarly White Star Line adopted names ending in “ic”. Holland America Line’s ships have been given names that end in “dam” since the 1880s.

From the earliest days of passenger shipping, ships names were created to assist with marketing the shipping / cruise line. This is still true today, with many cruise lines have a shared naming convention for their fleet of cruise ships.

Costa Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, MSC Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line include the brand name in the name of the ship – eg: Costa Concordia, Carnival Spirit, Seabourn Sojourn, AIDAMar, Sea Princess.

Other cruise lines have established words in their cruise ship names to create this same sense of familiarity. Royal Caribbean cruise ships all share the “of the Seas” suffix, P&O Australia cruise ships share the “Pacific” prefix, while Cunard’s fleet is currently all named for Queens or Queen Consorts of the United Kingdom – Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

MSC Cruises’ new Seaside Class, consisting of four ships over 150,000 gross tons, have all been named with “Sea” as the prefix – MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview and MSC Seashore – allowing these ships to stand out as a class of ships within the MSC fleet.

So with so many different approaches to naming ships, why do we see cruise lines reusing names so often?

When Cunard’s iconic RMS Mauretania of 1907 retired in the 1930s, the line wasted little time in resurrecting the name, with a second Mauretania joining the fleet later that same decade. The list of other names Cunard reused more than once is long, and includes Caronia, Saxonia, Franconia, Carmania , RMS Queen Mary and RMS. Queen Elizabeth.

White Star Line reused names – including two RMS Oceanic – a third was proposed but never built – three RMS Britannic and two ships called Georgic.

Holland America has a long tradition of having their flagship named Rotterdam. SS Rottedam sailed with HAL from 1959 until 1997. She was replaced by the 61,800 gross ton cruise ship Rotterdam, which sailed with HAL until 2020. When that Rotterdam was sold to Fred Olsen Cruises, Holland America Line announced their new Pinnacle Class cruise ship would take the name Rotterdam and become flagship of the cruise line.

Cruise Lines also benefit from reusing famous ship names through public interest and PR! Carnival’s new build ship Mardi Gras is the first in a new generation of cruise ship for Carnival, and the ship takes the name from Carnival’s first ever cruise ship. TSS. Mardi Gras. The shared name has led to many interesting comparisons between the 180,000 ton new ship and its 27,000 ton namesake.

Additionally with Carnival set to celebrate its 50th birthday in 2022 – the next new build set to debut that year – will take the name of another historic Carnival ship – Carnival Celebration.

Image Support and References:

My thanks to Andrew Sassoli Walker ( and Rob Henderson ( for their image support.

Images not referenced are from Chris Frame & Rachelle Cross.

Additional image references:

Ref 1: HMHS Britannic / Public Domain:
Ref 2: Celebration / Jon Worth / CC-BY-SA-2.0:
Ref 3: Titanic Grand Staircase / William H. Rau / Public Domain:
Ref 4: Holland America Line / Anefo van Duinen / CC0 1.0:
Ref 5: MSC Seaside / Dick Elbers / CC-BY-SA-4.0:
Ref 6: MSC Seaview / Didier Duforest / CC-BY-SA-4.0:
Ref 7: Oceanic III / Anton Logvynenko / CC-BY-SA-4.0:
Ref 8: Rotterdam / W. Bulach / CC-BY-SA-4.0:
Ref 9: Rotterdam / Alf van Beem / CC0-1.0:
Ref 10: Mjlachance1 / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Music: YT Audio Library

Original Thumbnail:
Photo: RMS. Queen Mary Courtesy Colin Hargreaves. Reuse icon: Jeff Portaro Creative Commons Attribution via Adobe Spark.

Current Thumbnail:
Arrow: B Agustìn Amenábar Larráin CC by Attribution via Adobe Spark.

Alternative Thumbnail:
Arrow is by Matt Scribner CC by Attribution via Adobe Spark.

#cunard #titanic #cruiseline


  1. The Cookie on January 25, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Don’t take this as fact but, did the Queen of England name the iconic QE2 after herself when she was meant to call it Queen Elizabeth?

  2. Emma Cruises on January 25, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Traditional, familiarity and LAZY 😉

  3. Juan Garcia on January 25, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    Be nice if Cunard would name future ships after Aquitania, Olympic and Mauretania.

  4. Robert Klein on January 25, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    Fun story about the name Queen Elizabeth 2 from Cunard is that the company intended to name her Queen Elizabeth, after the first ship, not the reigning Queen. When the Queen was asked to christen the ship, a note was handed to her with the name of the new ship (Queen Elizabeth) written on it. But when she smashed the bottle at the bow at the day of the ceremony, she herself used the phrase ‘I name this ship Queen Elizabeth…. the second’. Never intended by Cunard, they could of course not ignore her and thus the new ship was named Queen Elizabeth 2. In the name, they did choose not to use the royal way of script as ‘II’ but instead used the numeral ‘2’ to indicate the ship wasn’t named after the Queen, but after their earlier first ship. This thus without dishonouring the Queen herself. It wasnt strange that their 2010-build ship was thus again named just Queen Elizabeth instead of the more logical Queen Elizabeth 3 as those numerals were never intended in the first place.

    Queen Mary 2 recieved the numeral ‘2’ only because at the time of her launch, another ship named Queen Mary was already under the British flag. This was a former 1933 build two-funneled Clyde river steamer and she was moored in the center of London at the Embankment under Waterloo Bridge. As it is not possible to have two ships with the same name under the same flag, the Cunard ship from 2004 needed to have a ‘2’ behind her name.

  5. Emma Cruises on January 25, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    I thought they called it dam because like oh dammmmm that’s a good looking ship 😉

  6. David Cordes on January 25, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    Another great video! These are so insightful with such great detail. I’m an ocean liner buff of close to 40 years, discovering the Titanic in 1983 and it was all about ships since then. As many others, I’m very curious about the new Cunard cruise ship. Personally I still anticipate a "Queen" – whether it be Anne or Alexandra. But a classic name such as Aquitania could be possible, Holland America gives their ships names Americans might find difficult to pronounce (Zuiderdam, Koningsdam), so I guess Cunard can too. We will see!

  7. Camo on January 25, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    No one :
    Not even Steve :
    Cruise Lines : Coronia
    Me : Unlucky naming
    Time travellers : Your mortal brains dont withstand the concept of time travel

  8. Alexander Lucas on January 25, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Great research and presentation Chris. Keep up the great work.

  9. Kelley's Cruises, Crafts and Quilts on January 25, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    The original famous Queen Mary almost was not named that. The Cunard tradition of names ending in “ia” ( Lusitania for example) meant that the Cunard people wanted to call her Victoria. However using a monarch’s name requires permission from the current monarch. When the Cunard people approached King George V, they asked him if they could name the ship after “England’s greatest Queen”. His Majesty’s reply? “ Thank you. my wife will be delighted!”

  10. D G on January 25, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    The Cunard Line has not recycled the names of the Queens Mary and Elizabeth. The QE2 is not named after RMS Queen Elizabeth, the RMS QE was named after the Queen Elizabeth, the Consort of George VI, while the QE2 was named after Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, by Her Majesty herself. RMS Queen Mary was named after Queen Mary of Teck, Consort of King George V, and yes QM2 is also named after Queen Mary of Teck, but not after RMS Queen Mary, because technically she still exists under that name in Long Beach CA. Now the MV Queen Elizabeth was named after the RMS Queen Elizabeth, but not her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

  11. X R on January 25, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    Really enjoying the videos 👍

  12. James Barber on January 25, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    Great Stuff Chris! I’m a big Queen Mary 2 fan and I’m so excited to find out what Cunard will name their new ship! Any ideas? Not too sure about Queen Anne.

  13. Walter Robinson on January 25, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks … good history and video.

  14. Mark Easton on January 25, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks Chris, great video. I’ve always wondered how the naming conventions worked.
    Perhaps in time you might consider doing a video on trends in propulsions systems for cruise ships, such as the increasing trend moving towards LNG. Just a thought!

  15. Dylan Mengell on January 25, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    9:01 I thought Oriana was launched in 1995

  16. Charles Traa on January 25, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    Hi Chris
    My self ex crew member of Holland America line and have worked on all of their ships but gave it away in 1975 so 45 years ago.
    My first ever ship was Nieuw Amsterdam of 1939 then 1959 ssRotterdam Ryndam Statendam Maasdam all HAL ships name ends with DAM as in Rotterdam named after former head office and port of registry the city of Rotterdam —— Nieuw Amsterdam named as such for when Peter Stuyvesant discovered what is now New York it was called Nieuw Amsterdam so several ships of HAL have carried that name as in keeping the tradition of sailing to and from New York in the heydays of Atlantic crossing.
    Ryndam named after river Rhine which runs through Holland but written as RYN the old fashion way
    Statendam named after the provinces (States) of the Netherlands
    Maasdam named after the river Maas which runs through the city of Rotterdam on which the former head office of HAL were situated and the overseas shipping terminal of Wilhelminakade (Wilhelmina quay) named after former Monarch of the Netherlands Queen Wilhelmina

  17. Brian Stuart on January 25, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    Fascinating video, Chris, many thanks. Although Royal Caribbean (a relative newcomer at just over 50 years in business ) has no tradition of reusing names, the recent scrapping of Sovereign gives them an excellent oportunity to begin such a tradition. Sovereign of the Seas (1988) was the first of the so-called mega-ships, and the first to be given the " Of The Seas" suffix. As a result, the name is venerated in Royal Caribbean lore, and I for one would love to see it resurrected on the flagship of a new class perhaps later this decade.

  18. rick f on January 25, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    Another interesting video Chris. A lot of great info compacted in to 10 minutes.
    As aside note to you , I really liked your shirt. Very classy, and you wear it well.

  19. Gaurav Barge on January 25, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    First comment here

  20. Andrew Brendan on January 25, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks for this information, Chris! I hadn’t been aware of why liners were given names and there have been some great names for liners. A few of my favorite liner names are Aquitania, Laurentic, Romanza and Queen Mary; they have a certain ring to them.—I’ve read that after the 1959 Rotterdam was turned into a stationary hotel and a new liner was given the same name that it was a break with tradition, that in Holland a ship’s name is not used for another vessel while a previous one has that name.. Maybe because the 1959 vessel had been called Rembrandt after being Rotterdam then went back to her first name?—I find it interesting that there has never been a real-life liner called Queen Anne—which sounds great— but the name has been used in fiction: In one of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movies, Ginger Rogers says something like "Thank heavens I’m sailing tomorrow on the Queen Anne" then there a view of the Queen Mary. Much of the novel "The Memory of Eva Ryker" takes place aboard the Titanic in 1912 but the TV dramatization has the shipboard part of the story moved up to 1939 aboard a liner called the Queen Anne.—This information may now be lost in time but I would be very interested to know how the name Claridon came to be used for the ocean liner in the movie "The Last Voyage’. Originally the name was to be Olympus but the real-life Greek Line which had the Olympia put a stop to that so Claridon, the name of a town in Ohio here in the U.S. was selected. I’ve read there’s also a town in Derbyshire, England, called Claridon. Though not the first choice I think Claridon is just the right "stage name" for the real Ile de France.

  21. samanli1982 on January 25, 2022 at 6:05 pm

    I’m fed up with ship names that end with “of the Seas”.

  22. Christopher Rose on January 25, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    Hi Chris
    Do you have anh yhlughts on the namkng of the new Cunard Liner?
    Presumably it will at least be a Queen!
    Chris Rose

  23. Paul Harris on January 25, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you for the knowledge.

  24. Julie Serna-Hendricks on January 25, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Great information. Thanks.

  25. Emma Cruises on January 25, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    I hope you picked up that brochure!!! 😂😂😂

  26. Deniz Algazi on January 25, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Don’t forget the ship name trolling that goes on between Carnival Corporation and Disney Cruise Line! Fantasy, Dream, Magic, and the now cancelled/shelved DCL ocean liner (build #8) which was to compete with the Queen Mary 2 crossings, the Queen Elsa!

  27. Daniel Huffman on January 25, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    I’m able to differentiate the three _Britannics_ by remembering that all three had different prefixes: The SS _Britannic,_ the HMHS _Britannic, and the MV _Britannic._

    It’s interesting to note that even though the prestigious RMS _Oceanic_ was lost in calm, friendly waters barely a month into her service as the armed merchant cruiser HMS _Oceanic_ due to the _incompetence_ of her own crew was still not enough to kill the name, given that the WSL had plans to build one of my favorite designs, the RMMV _Oceanic._ Perhaps this was because the first RMS _Oceanic_ was also the first ship built for the company after Thomas Ismay saved it from bankruptcy?

    It’s also interesting to note that even after the second SS _Arabic_ was sunk by the U-24 in nine minutes with 44 dead in an event which sparked outrage among the press, the White Star Line _still_ named another ship _Arabic!_ Though…now that I think about it, it could be because the third _Arabic_ began her life as the SS _Berlin,_ and the WSL wanted to rub it in the faces of Germans…huh.

    But then there’s the second SS _Laurentic._ Her namesake had struck not one, but _two_ mines off the coast of Ireland with 354 lives lost, mostly due to the cold weather, their frozen hands still clinging to their oars by the time their surviving companions reached land. Unlike many ships whose namesakes sank, the second _Laurentic_ was also lost when she was torpedoed and sunk by the _U-99_ on November 3, 1940.

    But I find it…annoying that most modern companies would put their name in the names of their ships, rather than being creative.

    If I owned a shipping company, I’d name my ships after the elements of the periodic table. They would have a dark cyan keel, a white hull and superstructure with a gold band separating the two, and the funnels would resemble those of the Blue Funnel Line, except the the blue and the black would be separated by a white band, and instead of blue, have cyan.

    What about you? If anyone in the comments has ideas on naming conventions and liveries for their hypothetical shipping lines, leave them below!

  28. T C on January 25, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    This was great

  29. julie Wallis on January 25, 2022 at 6:18 pm

    I love finding things I didn’t know that I didn’t know. 😍