Together Carnival Corporation & Carnival plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world.  The company operates under the names of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and P&O Cruises (Australia).  This range of ships gives Carnival tremendous reach in North AmericaEuropeAustralia and Asia. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, which ties in with their extensive Alaska cruise business.

Queen Mary 2Credit: Wikipedia Creative CommonsGrown organically and through acquisition (including the combination with P&O Princess in 2003), Carnival Corporation today is the cruise industry leader because they carry about 47% of global cruise passengers.  Together, these Carnival brands operate 101 ships with over 196,000 lower berths and they are planning to add 10 new ships to be delivered between April 2012 and March 2016.  

2011 reported revenues are $15.8 billion and 2011 net income was $1.9 billion.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 (New York) and the FTSE 100 indices (London).  

History of Carnival Corporation & PLC

Carnival Corporation & plc does not have a long history like Deere & Company or Ford Motor Company  Rather the world's largest cruise line was formed in 1972 as Carnival Cruise Lines by entrepreneur Ted Arison as part of a subsidiary of Boston-based American International Travel Service (AITS). 

The company's start was hardly smooth sailing. Carnival's first cruise ship, the TSS Mardi Gras, run aground on a sandbar during its inaugural voyage. Here is an illustration lining up the first ship the TSS Marti Gras against the 100th Carnival ship the Carnival Magic. 

Carnival Mardi Gras and Carnival MagicCredit: Carnival Corporation Investor Relations SiteIn 1974 Arison purchases Carnival for $1 and the assumption of AITS’ $5 million in debt. The Arison family still maintains effective control with nearly have the outstanding stock.

In 1987 Carnival completed an initial public offering of 20 percent of its common stock, generating approximately $400 million which it used for a series of acquisitions. 

The biggest acquisition occurred when the P&O Line's  cruise operations were merged with Carnival in 2003. P&O  is considered the oldest cruise company in the world with a history stretching back to the days of ocean liners, long before airplanes became the preferred way to cross the ocean.

Carnival  Corporation Collector Gifts

As a cruise company and a major part of the travel industry, every ship carries all kinds of branded souvenirs for passengers to purchase.  There are also other options.

Carnival Conquest Scale Model from Scherbak Ship ModelsCredit:

Scherbak Ship Models of Englewood Co creates 1:1250 scale models of many Carnival Corporation.  They are called waterline models because they are displayed sitting in model water, not showing the hull.  With plenty of detail, they only run $200 to $300.  A nice way to remember a special cruise.

There are many other model cruise ships in the market as well.

Carnival Cruise Dolls & Marketing Tie-ins

Barbie Carnival CruiseCredit: sold only on board ships, getting your hands on one of these Carnival Cruise Barbie's today requires checking eBay or Amazon.  There are also several Barbie style fashion doll to collect that are Carnival Cruise branded.  

Carnival Swimsuit DollCredit: Amazon

Carnival Captain's DollCredit: Amazon

Books from Carnival Cruises and Love Boat DVDs

The Buffets of Carnival is an entaining secrets book by the ships' chefs.  

The Love Boat was a popular TV series showcasing Princess Cruises from  September 24, 1977, until May 24, 1986 on ABC. The sitcom was usually set aboard a cruise liner called the Pacific Princess, whose passengers and crew had romantic and funny adventures every week. Some episodes used other ships including twin sister Island Princess, the Stella Solaris (for a Mediterranean cruise), Pearl of Scandinavia (for a Chinese cruise), the Royal Viking Sky (for European cruises) and the Royal Princess and Sun Princess (for Caribbean cruises). The P&O Princess Line joined with Carnival in 2003, long after the end of the Love Boat series.  DVDs covering the whole series are on Amazon.  

Buffets of CarnivalCredit: AmazonLove Boat DVDCredit: Amazon

Equity In Carnival Corporation

Framed Share of Carnival Corporation StockCredit: Oneshare.comCredit:

Perhaps one of the coolest gifts to remember a special cruise with is ownership in the Carnival Corporation and its ships. Yes, you can give an actual registered single share of Carnival Corporation stock to your loved one. The  shares have the owner's name and address listed, a unique certificate number and are signed by company officers. Frame and mat it in a the color of your choice, and if you want, a little custom plaque can be added below the certificate.  

Carnival Corporation Stock is the gift that keeps on giving. As a registered shareholder, your Ford enthusiast will get Annual Company Reports and dividend checks quarterly (when dividends are declared).  Shareholders, even of one share, can vote on company business by mail, online or even attend the annual general meeting where company executives report to the shareholders.   

Also as a registered shareholder of the company the way is open to join the dividend reinvestment and stock purchase program so that additional shares can be acquired with reduced or no brokerage commissions. There are a few ways to get Carnival Corporation stock, but OneShare sells Carnival Corporation single shares for the market value of the actual share, a transfer fee, and the frame, plaque and shipping cost.

Photos of Carnival Ships From the Very First in Order of Debut

The Carnival Cruise brand was a pioneer in the concept of shorter and less expensive cruises living up to the marketing slogan The Fun Ships. Carnival Ships are best known for their Las Vegas-style decor and entertainment.  and there are a wide range of activities offered on board. The ships have a distinctive funnel in which is red, white and blue shaped like a whale's tail. The line's mascot "Fun Ship Freddy", is a character in the shape of Carnival's distinctive funnel. 

Carnival Cruise's 23 vessels currently in operation account for 21.1% of the worldwide market share and are the largest fleet of the eleven different cruise lines owned by Carnival Corporation & plc.