Cruise Lines and Yachts

  • Holland & Knight's Maritime Law Team has a long history of representing cruise line operators, ferry services, yacht owners and builders and yacht clubs.
  • We counsel clients on all aspects of their operations, including business and finance, regulatory, litigation and financial investigations.
  • Our team is one of the very few "shipbuilder to shipbreaker" maritime law practices in the United States and has been consistently listed in leading industry publications.
Cruise Ship


The construction, financing and operation of cruise lines, yachts and super yachts present both opportunities and risks, and effective legal counsel can often mean the difference between the two. With more than 180 years of maritime law experience, Holland & Knight's Maritime Law Team has the knowledge and experience to help you address relevant legal issues so you can succeed in your maritime operations.

Rich Tradition of Industry-Focused Service

As one of the very few full service maritime law practices in the United States, we have been selected for inclusion in leading national and international publications such as Chambers and Partners Global and USA editions (shipping litigation and finance), Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Shipping Lawyers, The International Who's Who of Shipping & Maritime Lawyers and Super Lawyers (transportation). In addition, the 2020 U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" guide named Holland & Knight "Law Firm of the Year" in Admiralty & Maritime Law. This is the fourth year that the firm received this honor in the past six years.

Our clients include large cruise brands; smaller specialty cruise companies operating in the United States and internationally; specialized operators such as condominium apartment cruise ship services; various charterers and tour operators; harbor, intercity and international ferry services; yacht owners, designers, builders and yacht clubs as well as shipyards.

Comprehensive Counsel for Cruise Lines

Our Maritime Law Team has a long history of providing legal service to participants in the cruise line industry. We counsel clients daily on issues that are critical to their operations, including:


We regularly represent cruise lines in litigation matters, including the defense of class action lawsuits. Our lawyers have been lead counsel for the successful party in many significant federal court litigation matters involving issues such as U.S.-built status of vessels, Jones Act coastwise trade matters and applicability of antitrust laws to cruise lines.

Finance and Operations

Our team counsels numerous cruise lines and ferry operators on business and finance issues. Members of our team handle major commercial transactions, including ship charters, service contracts, terminal leasing agreements, onboard and shoreside concession contracts, crewing agreements, onboard food and beverage service contracts, vessel construction, sales and scrapping. In addition, we provide counsel on vessel financing issues, securities filings, development and licensing of reservation and back-office systems and corporate governance.


We regularly represent cruise lines in U.S. Customs and border protection matters, as well as Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulatory and compliance matters. We also assist cruise operators in securing FMC and Coast Guard certificates of financial responsibility and in compliance with U.S. Shipping Act requirements, as well as applicable regulations of Customs Border Protection, Maritime Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, Department of Agriculture, Federal Communications Commission, Immigration Service, Department of Energy, Department of State, and other federal regulatory agencies and state and local regulatory officials. Our regulatory lawyers include former federal attorneys from Customs, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies.

Financial Investigations

Our team represents large and small cruise lines in federal investigations, with an emphasis on those involving allegations of health, safety and environmental violations and discharges and incidents. We also counsel clients on corporate compliance and prevention programs related to onboard crime and international piracy protection issues.

Focused Representation for the Yacht Industry

Whether power or sail and whether for personal use or traded commercially, our Maritime Law Team assists yacht owners, designers, builders and yacht clubs with all aspects of their legal needs. We regularly counsel clients on entity formation, newbuilding contracts, brokerage agreements, labor and employment matters, insurance coverage disputes, breach of warranty claims, and patent and trademark issues. Individual yacht owners, designers and manufacturers face all types of lawsuits that require hands-on understanding of their vessels and their businesses. We are aggressive in addressing these issues and seeking the most direct path to successful resolution of the matters.


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