With a history dating back to the late 60s, Royal Caribbean International is currently one of the world's largest and most successful cruise lines.
It was formed when three Norwegian shipping companies joined together in a an effort to crack the growing American cruise market and has since grown into one of the industry's most recognisable brands.
The cruise line's first ship - the Song of Norway - entered service in 1970 and sent the standard for many of the vessels that were to follow.
Fast-forward 40 years and Royal Caribbean is now preparing to debut the Oasis of the Seas which, when launched next year, will become the world's largest passenger vessel.
Blast from the past
Royal Caribbean International was established in 1968 when three Norwegian shipping companies - Anders Wilhelmsen and Company, I.M. Skauge and Company and Gotaas Larsen - came together in a bid to form a modern cruise line capable of cracking the ever-expanding American market.
In 1970 the cruise line launched its first ship, the Song of Norway, which was capable of carrying 724 passengers and weighed in at 18,000 tons.
Nordic Prince made its debut in 1971 and Royal Caribbean began to pioneer the idea of air/sea holidays, by flying passengers to Miami from across the US.
The cruise line continued its expansion and a year later the Sun Viking entered service, with all three ships now offering seven and 14-night voyages from Miami to the Caribbean.
Song of Norway made the headlines in 1978 when it became the first cruise ship to be lengthened, with the addition of an 85-foot mid-section. The Nordic Prince followed in its footsteps and was lengthened two years later to create additional passenger capacity.
The Song of America made its debut in 1982 and with a passenger capacity of 1,575, she was almost double the size of her predecessors.
Royal Caribbean continued to expand and in 1986 Labadee, the cruise line's very own destination off the coast of Hispaniola, was officially opened.
In 1988 Royal Caribbean launched its first true mega-ship, with the 73,000-ton Sovereign of the Seas, which marked the start of a rapid growth for the cruise line.
Two years later the Sun Viking moved away from the Caribbean and began offering cruises around Europe, Scandinavia and Russia.
That same year, the Nordic Empress, which was specially designed for shorter cruises, entered service, along with the 980-guest Viking Serenade, which began offering cruises to Alaska and the Mexican Riviera.
In 1991 Royal Caribbean introduced CruiseMatch 2000, the first fully automated cruise reservations system.
The cruise line continued to expand throughout the 90s, with the introduction of several more new liners including the Splendour of the Seas, the Grandeur of the Seas and the Rhapsody of the Seas.
Over the last eight years the cruise line has continued to lead the way and pioneer new technology on its ships, with the Explorer of the Seas becoming the first vessel to have its very own atmospheric and marine laboratory onboard.
In 2006 passengers were given the opportunity to watch the construction of the Freedom of the Seas and see it set sail on its first-ever voyage in Finland.
Cruising into the future
Royal Caribbean has gone from strength to strength over the past 40 years and in 2009 it will make history once again when it launches the world's largest passenger vessel.
The Oasis of the Seas will make her debut late next year and with a passenger capacity of 5,400, the ship demonstrates just how far the cruise line has come since in launched the Song of Norway in 1970.
Her sister ship - Allure of the Seas - will launch the following year and both vessels are set to revolutionise cruising.
Often described as floating cities, the ships will house a number of distinct neighbourhoods, aimed at ensuring that passengers have access to the widest possible range of experiences and activities.
Royal Caribbean may not be as old as some of the more established cruise lines, but what it lacks in age it more than makes up in ambition and it certainly shows no signs of slowing down.