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Arne Wilhelmsen (1929–2020), Royal Caribbean Cruises co-founder

by Linnea Crowther

Arne Wilhelmsen was a Norwegian businessman who co-founded Royal Caribbean Cruises and helped shape the cruise industry.

Building a new business model

Wilhelmsen was part of his family’s shipping concern, Anders Wilhelmsen & Co AS, for more than a decade before he co-founded Royal Caribbean Cruises in 1968. At the time, cruising wasn’t the popular luxury vacation choice it would become. Instead of dedicated fleets of cruise ships, old transatlantic liners were occasionally used as unusual options for vacationers. Wilhelmsen envisioned the modern cruise industry and began building Royal Caribbean’s fleet. He remained on Royal Caribbean’s board of directors for decades as the cruise industry flourished.

What people said about him

Full obituary: Miami Herald

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