|Area served||Eastern Mediterranean|
|Services||Cruise ship operations and chartering|
Louis Cruises (formerly Louis Cruise Lines) is a Cyprus-based cruise line that operates cruises from Cyprus, France, Italy, India and Greece (the operations from Greece were previously marketed under the name Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines, but as of 2008 there is no mention of the brand on Louis' website). The company also charters several ships to Thomson Cruises. Although Louis started operating short cruises out of Cyprus in the early 70s, Louis Cruises was officially established in 1986 when MV Princesa Marissa, its first owned cruise ship, was purchased. Louis Cruises is a subsidiary of Louis plc and member of Louis Group, the leading tourism group in the Eastern Mediterranean, founded in 1935 by the late Louis Loizou, acknowledged as the "father of Cyprus tourism".
Louis plc is a public listed company whose shares are quoted in the Cyprus Stock Exchange.
The Louis Cruises fleet consist mainly of older second- or third-hand ships. One of them, the Emerald, is the last ocean liner built in the US still in service. Recently she was laid up due to not being compatible with SOLAS 2010.
Louis Cruises is the fifth largest cruise operator in the world.
Louis Cruises is a subsidiary of the Cyprus-based travel and tourism group Louis plc, that was founded in 1935 as the first travel agency in Cyprus. During the 1970s the company began chartering ferries for short cruises Cyprus, which eventually led to the purchase of the cruiseferry MV Prinsessan from the Finland-based Birka Line for $4 million in 1987. Renamed MV Princesa Marissa, the ship started making cruises from Limassol to the Greek Isles, Egypt and Israel under the then newly-established Louis Cruise Lines band. By 1994 the company had acquired three more ships, all of which were used in the short cruise market from Cyprus.
In the mid-90s Louis Cruise Lines entered the business of chartering ships to other companies, chartering MV Princesa Oceanica (renamed Sapphire) to the UK-based Thomson Cruises in 1996. The following year the newly-acquired The Emerald was also chartered to Thomson. In 1999 Louis chartered the 1998-acquired SS Ausonia to First Choice Holidays, one of Thomson's competitors in the UK market. By this time the Louis fleet consisted of a total of eight ships. In 1999 Louis also acquired a stake in the Greece-based Royal Olympic Cruises. Royal Olympic was already in difficulties by the time Louis became involved with the company, and the 11 September 2001 attacks dealt a further blow, finally leading to the collapse of Royal Olympic in 2004.
During the early 2000s Louis further modernised their fleet by acquiring Calypso in 2000, and chartering MV Nieuw Amsterdam from Holland America Line in 2003, immediately sub-chartering her to Thomson as MV Thomson Spirit. In 2004 Louis acquired MV Aquamarine from the fleet of the UK-based Sun Cruises (which had gone out of business). Another former Sun Cruises ship, MV Thomson Destiny, was chartered from a Norway-based investment company and sub-chartered to Thomson Cruises. The new acquisitions also made possible the sale of three of Louis' older vessels. Also in 2004, following the collapse of Royal Olympic Cruises, Louis Cruise Lines purchased two of their former ships at bargain prices and established their own Louis Hellenic Cruises brand for the Greek cruise market.
Further expansion came in 2006 with the purchase of MV Orient Queen and MV Sea Diamond, another former Baltic Sea cruise ferry purchased from Birka Line, while Calypso was chartered to Thomson and Aquamarine (renamed Arielle) to Transocean Tours. Additionally Louis entered a franchise agreement with easyCruise to operate ships in the Eastern Mediterranean on behalf of easyCruise in the future. Disaster struck in April 2007 when the Sea Diamond sunk off Santorini, Greece. All but two of the ship's passengers were safely evacuated, but the sinking resulted in a flurry of negative publicity for Louis.MV Oceanic II and MV Ruby were chartered as temporary replacements for the Sea Diamond, until MV Cristal – former Silja Line cruise ship MV Silja Opera – entered service in July 2007. In 2008 the Arielle was returned from her charter to Transocean Tours, reverted to her earlier name Aquamarine and entered service under the Louis Hellenic Cruises brand. By early 2008 the Louis Hellenic Cruises brand appeared to have been abandoned.
In April 2008 Louis Cruise Lines agreed to purchase MV Norwegian Dream and MV Norwegian Majesty from Star Cruises. The agreement at the time was to charter the ships back to Star Cruises/Norwegian Cruise Line until November 2008 and December 2009, respectively. However, in September 2008 Louis cancelled the purchase of the Norwegian Dream due to "technical issues relating to the vessel". In May 2008 Louis Cruise Lines purchased Thomson Destiny and Thomson Spirit that had previously been operated under charter. At the same time Princesa Marissa and Serenade were sold for scrap.
In 2009 the company changed its name to Louis Cruises.
In 2012 the company signed a new charter agreement with Thomson Cruises and the MS Louis Majesty will switch over and replace the MS Thomson Destiny. In return, the Thomson Destiny will return to the Louis fleet and will be renamed Louis Olympia. She will then be deployed on 3/4 day sailings out of Piraeus and Kusadasi to the Greek Islands and Turkey.
- MV Orient Queen – Operates cruises from the Eastern Mediterranean; previously Bolero.
- MS Cristal – Operates cruises from the Eastern Mediterranean; previously Silja Opera.
- MV Coral – Resumes cruises from the Eastern Mediterranean in April 2013; previously Triton.
- MS Thomson Spirit – Under charter to Thomson Cruises until 2014; previously Patriot / Spirit.
- MS Thomson Majesty – Under charter to Thomson Cruises; previously Louis Majesty.
Ships not in active service
- The Calypso – Sold for scrap; previously Regent Jewel.
- MS Louis Olympia - No longer in active service at the moment; previously Thomson Destiny.
- MV Princesa Amorosa (1994–2000) – Scrapped.
- MV Princesa Victoria (1994–2004) – Scrapped.
- MV Princesa Cypria (1988–2005) – Scrapped.
- SS Ivory (1998-2005) – Sold to Golden Star Cruises, then scrapped at Alang, India, March 2010
- MS Sea Diamond (2006–2007) – Sunk near Santorini, Greece, 6 April 2007.
- MV Oceanic II (2007) – Since 2008 MV Mona Lisa for Lord Nelson Seereisen.
- MV Ruby (2007) – Since December 2007 MV Ocean Countess for Monarch Classic Cruises.
- MV Princesa Marissa (1986–2008) – Sold for scrap 2008.
- MV Serenade (2000–2008) – Sold for scrap 2008.
- MV Aegean Pearl (2004-2010) – Sold to Israel in 2010; She was also known as Perla.
- MV Aquamarine (2005-2011) – Sold to Corporacion De Cruceros Nacionales as the MV Ocean Star Pacific
- MS Sapphire (1994-2012) – Sold for scrap
- SS Emerald (1995-2012) - Sold for scrap
- "About Louis Cruise Lines". Louis Cruise Lines. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
- "Cruises from Greece". Louis Cruise Lines. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
- Douglas Newman (7 October 2007). "Cruise Ship Reviews > Louis Cruise Lines". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- Micke Asklander. "M/S Finnhansa (1966)". Fakta om Fartyg (in in Swedish). Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- Micke Asklander. "M/S Italia (1967)". Fakta om Fartyg (in in Swedish). Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- Micke Asklander. "S/S Santa Rosa (1958)". Fakta om Fartyg (in in Swedish). Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- Micke Asklander. "S/S Ausonia (1957)". Fakta om Fartyg (in in Swedish). Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- Newman, Doug (7 May 2008). "Louis Sells Princesa Marissa and Serenade; Buys Thomson Destiny and Thomson Spirit". At Sea with Doug Newman. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
- Micke Asklander. "M/S Sally Albatross (1992)". Fakta om Fartyg (in in Swedish). Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Cruise Ship News: Aegean Shuffle". Maritime Matters. 25 January 2008. Archived from the original on 25 December 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2008.
- "Louis acquires Norwegian Dream and Majesty". Cruise Business Review. Cruise Media Oy Ltd. 23 April 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
- "No Dream for Louis Cruises". Cruise Business Review. Cruise Media Oy Ltd. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008.[dead link]
- "Majesty to replace Destiny in Thomson Cruises' fleet". 2012-03-06. Archived from the original on 2012-04-16.
- "Lloyds Lauds Louis/Adios AQUAMARINE!". Maritime Matters. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- "Louis Cruises: Building Up in the Eastern Med - Cruise Industry News | Cruise News". Cruise Industry News. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- "Cruise Ships". Louis Cruise Lines. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2008.
- "Louis Public Company Ltd ™". Louisgroup.com. 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
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