Premier Cruise Line

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Premier Cruise Line
Cruise line
HeadquartersCape Canaveral, Florida

Premier Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Premier Cruises, was a cruise line that was headquartered in Cape Canaveral, Florida.[1][2] It was at one time licensed as the official cruise line of Walt Disney World and used the trademark "The Big Red Boat" based on the color scheme of some of its ships.[3] Dolphin Cruise Line, a company that became a part of Premier, was headquartered on Dodge Island in Miami.[4]

Company history[edit]

A family ready to embark on a Big Red Boat

Premier Cruise Line was formed in 1983 by two cruise veterans and later bought by Dial Corporation (of Dial soap fame), which then also owned the Greyhound Bus Company; the ships typically operated three- and four-day Bahamas trips out of Port Canaveral, Florida. The company earned over $20 million annually on a gross revenue of $100 million during the 1980s; the successful niche that Premier served was the family cruise line, especially attractive to grandparents sailing with their children and grandchildren.

Starting in 1985, Premier partnered with Walt Disney World, providing seven-night land and sea vacations on the Big Red Boat. Premier was licensed to provide Disney characters on its ships, until the relationship ended in 1993.[5]

Premier then affiliated itself with the Looney Tunes characters to maintain its family friendly image,[6] and was returned to profitability under the direction of 20-year cruise veteran Jim Naik; the company had an aging fleet of Italian-designed ships competing with newer and larger liners. Mr. Naik brought Premier to profitability in his first quarter with the company. Premier's parent company, Dial, sold the company after posting profits for 1995, 1996, and 1997. New owners and new leadership followed, with Larry Magnum as president in 1998.

The older ships were designed before the current disability acts, requiring reasonable access for persons with physical disabilities, were even envisioned, let alone enacted into law. Much later, after 1997, Premier was sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act for not making accommodations for people with disabilities. Premier ships included the Majestic (the former Sun Princess of Princess Cruise Lines), the former Home Lines flagship Oceanic, the Atlantic (another former Home Lines ship), and the Royale, a former Costa Cruises liner known then as the Frederico C; the original four ships had the prefix "Star/Ship" before their names. During Premier's reorganization in the mid 1990s all but the Oceanic (Big Red Boat I) were sold off. Premier then became an amalgamation of Dolphin and Seawind Cruises. Later, the Rembrandt, formerly the Rotterdam of Holland America Lines, was added to the line.

The SS Oceanic/(Big Red Boat I) was still sailing until 2012 when she was sailed to Yokohama for scrapping.[7] The Big Red Boat II, formerly Eugenio Costa, was put up for sale and was laid up in Freeport, Bahamas, she had no potential buyers and remained there until 2005, eventually being sold to the breakers and was scrapped in Alang, India in late 2005.[8] The Big Red Boat III, formerly Carnival Cruise Line's Festivale, was also sold for scrap; the former Frederico C (called the Seabreeze I) was to be scrapped at India but instead sank in a storm 220 nautical miles (407 km) off the Virginia coast. Lastly, the Rembrandt, formerly the Rotterdam, was purchased by the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to be restored and kept as a historic landmark.

Former fleet[edit]

Ship Built In service
for Premier Cruise Line
Tonnage Status as of 2018 Image
StarShip Oceanic / Big Red Boat I 1965 1985—2000 38,772 GT / 39,241 GRT Also known as Oceanic for Home Lines, Sold to Pullmantur Cruises in 2000 and to Peace Boat in 2009. Scrapped in 2012. Premier oceanic 1998.jpg
Starship Majestic 1970 1988–1995 17,042 GT Previously Spirit of London for P&O Cruises and Sun Princess for Princess Cruises. Sold in 1995. Capsized and sank in 2016. "Southern Cross" - Copenhagen, 1995.jpg
StarShip Atlantic 1982 1988–1997 35,143 GT Previously Atlantic for Home Lines. It later became the MSC Melody for MSC Cruises and the Qing; the ship sank at its berth in Goa, India in 2016. She was later refloated and sold for scrap in 2018. "StarShip Atlantic" - Nassau, 1989.jpg
Big Red Boat II 1966 1999–2000 32,753 GRT Also known as Eugenio C / Eugenio Costa for Costa Crociere, and Edinburgh Castle for Lowline Shipping. Sold for scrap in 2005. Cammell Laird, Hebburn - - 604911.jpg
Rembrandt 1958 1997–2000 38,645 GT Previously Rotterdam for Holland America Line. Converted into a hotel and museum in 2004. De SS Rotterdam.jpeg
OceanBreeze 1955 1997–1999 20,204 GRT Previously Southern Cross, Calypso, and Azure Seas. Sold for scrap In 2003. Imperial Majesty Oceanbreeze.jpg
SeaBreeze 1958 1997–2000 21,000 GT Previously Federico C for Costa Cruises and Royale for Premier. Sank in 2000. "SeaBreeze I" - Limón, 1999.jpg
Big Red Boat III 1962 1998–2000 26,632 GRT Also known as Transvaal Castle, S.A. Vaal, Island Breeze, and Festivale. Sold for scrap in 2003. "The Big Red Boat III" & "Rembrandt" - Freeport, 2001.jpg
SS SeaWind Crown 1961 2000 23,306 GRT Scrapped in China, 2004. "Seawind Crown" - Saint Lucia, 1997.jpg



  1. ^ "Cape Canaveral city, Florida[permanent dead link]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 27, 2009.
  2. ^ "FALL AND WINTER CRUISES; Where to Get Information". The New York Times. Sunday October 4, 1998. Retrieved on September 27, 2009.
  3. ^ Sealetter Cruise Magazine
  4. ^ "A DIRECTORY OF CRUISES WORLDWIDE; WHERE TO WRITE OR CALL FOR INFORMATION." The New York Times. Sunday February 6, 1994. Retrieved on September 27, 2009.
  5. ^ "How Disney Cruises Started" USA Today Travel.
  6. ^ "Cruise Line Will Cut a Disney Link". The New York Times, October 7, 1993.
  7. ^ Peter Knego (June 2012). "Scraps Of Shipping News".
  8. ^ Eugenio C / Big Red Boat II

External links[edit]