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The cruise industry is now a thriving and vibrant part of the global tourism enterprise. In 2011, the industry generated 29.3 billion dollars in worldwide revenue, and North America accounted for approximately 59 percent of the entire cruise market. About 19.2 million people around the globe elected to take a cruise vacation in 2011, and each person spent around $1,777 to finance the cruise.

The large cruise ships that have recently come online are luxurious and expensive. For example, Royal Caribbean launched the “Oasis of the Seas” in November 2009, and the ship cost approximately $1.4 billion to build. At 1,187 feet long, 208 feet wide and 240 feet high, the “Oasis of the Seas” was the biggest cruise ship in the world. It can accommodate 6,360 passengers and cruises at 22.6 knots. The passengers dine in elegant settings featuring sumptuous chandeliers and fine china, and they can choose to stay in multi-level loft suites that have windows from floor to ceiling. Cruises with a two-week duration start at $2,145 so people who book a cruise on the “Oasis of the Seas” may want to purchase trip insurance. Travel insurance for your cruise offers peace of mind and typically costs only 4 to 6 percent of the price of the cruise.

The ports of the Caribbean Sea have long been popular destinations for those who take a cruise vacation. According to a 2008 marketing study by the Cruise Lines International Association, 43 percent of all cruise itineraries chosen in 2008 involved the Caribbean. Alaska and the Bahamas, each with 25 percent of the 2008 cruise bookings, were the second most popular cruise destinations.

Cruising has a significant positive impact on the United States economy. In 2011, the spending of cruise lines, their passengers and their crews added about $40.4 billion in revenue to the economy and created 347,787 U.S. jobs. This revenue figure includes the indirect and induced economic ramifications of spending by the cruise industry. The cruise industry jobs paid out $16.5 billion in salaries and wages.

The Cruise Lines International Association has created a demographic profile of people who go on cruises. The average age of cruise ship passengers is 50 years old, and their average household income is $109,000. A large majority of passengers, 69 percent, are college graduates, and 86 percent are married.

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