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Cunard Line is a British-American cruise line based at Carnival House in Southampton, England, operated by Carnival UK and owned by Carnival Corporation & plc since 2005. It has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic, celebrating 175 years of operation in 2015.
In 1839, Nova Scotian Samuel Cunard was awarded the first British trans-Atlantic steamship mail contract, and the next year formed the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company together with Robert Napier, the famous Scottish steamship engine designer and builder, to operate the line's four pioneer paddle steamers on the Liverpool–Halifax–Boston route. For most of the next 30 years, Cunard held the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic voyage. However, in the 1870's Cunard fell behind its rivals, the White Star Line and the Inman Line. To meet this competition, in 1879, the firm was reorganized as Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd to raise capital.