Originally Posted by You
While I understand and appreciate the reasons behind flagging ships under different flags, I still don't understand why the cruise ships of the same company are flagged differently. Any ideas?
There can be several reasons for this.
>> 1. Sometimes differences in tax structure or other laws make it advantageous to register a new class of ships in a country where a particular line has registered its vessels, but not cost-effective to reflag the existing fleet. The best recent example of this occurred with Princess, which reregistered its entire fleet in London in the late 1990's and then registered MV Grand Princess
and subsequent ships, which have wedding chapels, in Hamilton because Bermudan law allows the master of the vessel to perform legal wedding ceremonies.
>> 2. Sometimes this is the result of acquisitions, in which it's not advantageous for the acquiring line to reflag the vessels of the acquired line. When Princes acquired Sitmar, for example, the former Sitmar ships retained their existing (IIRC, Liberian) registry.
>> 3. Many cruise ships actually are separately incorporated, with significant ownsership by outside investors, and legally chartered to the cruise line. In such cases, the ship's corporation actually registers the vessel and thus determines where the vessel is registered.
I should add that reflagging a vessel is not a trivial process. The ship's officers and other licensed personel have to become licensed in the new country of registry, which may or may not be willing to grant such licenses based upon the licenses in the previoius country of registry.