The European cruise industry is growing, driven largely by Carnival Corporation brands, Costa Crociere, Aida Cruises and P&O Cruises. It is also buoyed by MSC Cruises and Louis Cruise Lines, which is picking up the pieces in the Eastern Mediterranean after Festival and Royal Olympic Cruises; Thomson Cruises, Saga, Island Cruises and Norwegian Coastal Voyage . In addition, TUIi has plans to enter the mass market as has Color Line. So much can happen and Europe is still largely up for grabs, compared to the North American market which is controlled by three big companies.

In Europe, however, Costa is by far the dominant brand, with more than double the passenger capacity of its nearest competing brand, MSC. And in total, the combined capacity of the Carnival brands commands 53 percent of the European market capacity in 2006. But still, the market is growing and flexible enough to accommodate more companies, including start-ups.