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Do Caribbean cruises make up the majority of American cruise line business?


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I just saw this as a statement on another thread.

 

Is this true and, if so, why is that? Is it that they generally cost a lot less?

 

Our very first cruise was post 9-11 and we were 'given' two B2B, 10 day Southern Caribbean cruises with all different ports except for St. Thomas. Ever since then you couldn't convince us to return. A total "been there, done that" reaction. I realized just a few days ago that we don't cruise from or to the US. We fly someplace, tour around DIY and then cruise and tour around some more. 

 

So again, is the Caribbean the main destination for Americans? 

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4 minutes ago, clo said:

I just saw this as a statement on another thread.

 

Is this true and, if so, why is that? Is it that they generally cost a lot less?

 

Our very first cruise was post 9-11 and we were 'given' two B2B, 10 day Southern Caribbean cruises with all different ports except for St. Thomas. Ever since then you couldn't convince us to return. A total "been there, done that" reaction. I realized just a few days ago that we don't cruise from or to the US. We fly someplace, tour around DIY and then cruise and tour around some more. 

 

So again, is the Caribbean the main destination for Americans? 

Well, not this American.  We've done 25 cruises - 5 were Caribbean specific, 3 had Caribbean stops, but not Caribbean specific (Panama Canal twice and a trans Atlantic, Beyond that we've done Mexico, Hawaii, South Pacific, Alaska, Mediterranean, Pacific coastal, a trans Atlantic that went by Canada and the UK, and Baja/Sea of Cortes.

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We are 5* on HAl and have cruised on a number of other lines. We have done only one Caribbean only cruise and that was with extended family. All the other Caribbean stops we have done have been on the way to other destinations. I think there are two types of cruisers out there (with some crossover, obviously): those that are going on a long explore and those that are going for a week long party or vacation. I don't know what the split is, but I expect that overall it may be 50/50.

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I think yes, because they are the largest cruise lines, and cater to families and younger folk who can’t afford longer cruises, or those that require extended travel to get to the port.  Those also can’t afford the time for longer, more distant cruises.  

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We look for 'local' cruises - for us that means Brooklyn and QM2. [or possibly Boston with HAL]

 

We might consider Alaska for 2023 [or later] despite the need to fly.

 

Caribbean / Bahamas and other warm weather sailings have never been on our agenda.

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 More frequently booked than  cruises departing from international ports- I wouldn't be surprised. I don't think CC regulars are at all representative of the general cruising public. Cruises out of US ports are easy for Americans- they don't always need a passport, they don't require long flights, and they tend to be shorter. Perfect for working people, those with children, those on a budget, and those looking for a vacation, not a foreign adventure. I read a couple of online articles aimed at TAs saying that the Caribbean generates the highest number of bookings in the US, with Alaska running second.

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Personal taste but I have done 3 Caribbean cruise.  Two were chosen by family and I was voted down as not doing the Caribbean so those 2 don't count.  The third one I selected.  Having done 3 Caribbean cruises, I am done w the Caribbean.  Boring.  Aggressive people trying to sell me tours or stuff.  I am not a beach person and I can take only 10 or 15 of lying on the beach and doing nothing.  Also. I live in Las Vegas so the excuse that they need to get away from the cold winter weather does not apply.

 

That said I recognize that there must be something to the place as people including ones that I know love the place and do it over and over.

 

DON

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2 hours ago, Shmoo here said:

a trans Atlantic that went by Canada and the UK, and Baja/Sea of Cortes.

I realized this isn't real clear - that was a trans Atlantic (northern route), as well as a couple of Baja cruises and an Sea of Cortes cruise.

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When I first started cruising in 1980, it was 10/11 day cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico. When my kids started cruising with me, it was still the Caribbean on shorter 7 day cruises, because of school. Once I got a passport, and retired in 2010, the Caribbean is the last place on my list (next is Alaska) for cruising.

As others have said, there are a lot of families and working people out there, that can only take 7 day cruises. The Caribbean offers quite a few destinations, even though for some of us who have been around for a while, it’s a been there, done that scenario.

 

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Back in the 70's the Caribbean Islands were great places to stop. Never did true Caribbean cruises but stopped at a few islands while doing the Acapulco to San Juan Trans-Canal shuttle for a couple of months.

 

Did a 20-day Caribbean about 7 years ago and never again. When we have to transit the region, it is normally only a couple of ports, so relaxing pool days are called for. 

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 Without a serious study, it is difficult to confirm - but it sure seems likely.   The numbers of sailings, the short itineraries,  the low cost of travel for many millions to the embarkation ports, the low prices, the lack of need  for passports all combine to make the Caribbean (and especially if the Bahamas are included) the overwhelming destination.   

 

 Money (in this case the lack of money needed to cruise) talks.  The Caribbean and Bahamas represent the Walmart of cruising - just as Walmart is the pinnacle of US consumer spending, the short itinerary from east coast ports is the pinnacle of US cruising (by volume, if not by quality).

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I guess the CLIA has statistics that would resolve the OP's question.  Like a few of the posters in this thread we prefer to cruise outside North America and have done a majority of our cruise days (over 1200) in Europe and Asia with a sprinkling of other continents.  But even after more then 45 years of extensive cruising and world travel, DW and I still like to return to the Caribbean about once a year (usually for a 2-3 week cruise).  This year, since cruising is not an option, we are soon heading back to the Caribbean to enjoy a decent All Inclusive.  Why do we like the Caribbean?  For us it is about the sun, sand, beautiful ocean water, warm temps (both air and water), and we even enjoy the Caribbean music.    

For folks that do not enjoy lazy beach days, swimming, snorkeling or SCUBA in the clear waters, etc. I can understand not wanting to go to Caribbean.  When we travel in Europe (on cruises or lengthy driving trips) our days are long, we wear ourselves out, and it is usually quite wonderful.  In the Caribbean we are content to lay on the sand, sip some nice drinks, swim in the Ocean, and do a lot of reading.  I have long explained to friends that I have a PhD in Lazy.

 

Hank

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3 hours ago, clo said:

I just saw this as a statement on another thread.

 

Is this true and, if so, why is that? Is it that they generally cost a lot less?

 

Our very first cruise was post 9-11 and we were 'given' two B2B, 10 day Southern Caribbean cruises with all different ports except for St. Thomas. Ever since then you couldn't convince us to return. A total "been there, done that" reaction. I realized just a few days ago that we don't cruise from or to the US. We fly someplace, tour around DIY and then cruise and tour around some more. 

 

So again, is the Caribbean the main destination for Americans? 

Nearly all of our cruises have been to the Caribbean.One to South America,one to Alaska and 11 to Bermuda.We have never been to Europe or Asia or any other continent not mentioned.

We love the hot weather.

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1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

Did a 20-day Caribbean about 7 years ago and never again.

That was our first cruise and being Southern Caribbean we did see some interesting ports but about day 16 we were ready to jump 🙂

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14 minutes ago, SelectSys said:

CLIA has better data on this if you are curious to know.

I think that the "why" was what I was most interested in and this has pretty much answered that. And since we're on the West Coast, cruises to Mexico hold no appeal so we would have to fly somewhere anyway. So, yeah, I get it.

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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I guess the CLIA has statistics that would resolve the OP's question.  Like a few of the posters in this thread we prefer to cruise outside North America and have done a majority of our cruise days (over 1200) in Europe and Asia with a sprinkling of other continents.  But even after more then 45 years of extensive cruising and world travel, DW and I still like to return to the Caribbean about once a year (usually for a 2-3 week cruise).  This year, since cruising is not an option, we are soon heading back to the Caribbean to enjoy a decent All Inclusive.  Why do we like the Caribbean?  For us it is about the sun, sand, beautiful ocean water, warm temps (both air and water), and we even enjoy the Caribbean music.    

For folks that do not enjoy lazy beach days, swimming, snorkeling or SCUBA in the clear waters, etc. I can understand not wanting to go to Caribbean.  When we travel in Europe (on cruises or lengthy driving trips) our days are long, we wear ourselves out, and it is usually quite wonderful.  In the Caribbean we are content to lay on the sand, sip some nice drinks, swim in the Ocean, and do a lot of reading.  I have long explained to friends that I have a PhD in Lazy.

 

Hank

I love the Caribbean - or, more precisely some Caribbean islands -- but coming ashore for a few hours with thousands of others - who come close at times to outnumbering the local population is a pretty poor way of going about it.  Going to an island for a week or so is the way to experience an island.  I may cruise there once in a rare while - in December 2019-January 2020 we cruised on QM2 from NY to several islands - but that was more for an easy way to get there than for a serious  effort to appreciate it.

 

But getting on a plane to fly to Florida to get on a ship for a few crowded hours on a few islands -- no.  I think I'd prefer a series of visits to a periodontist.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, lenquixote66 said:

.We have never been to Europe or Asia

So you went there but not on a cruise?

Edited by clo
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As we have cruises into Grand Cayman St Thomas and Cozumel a total of one million times, I would say yes Caribbean Cruises (Yes the Gulf of Mexico was recently moved into the Caribbean ;) are the most frequent cruises for Americans. 
As we are on the west coast, Cabo and Juneau are also common ports for us. These cruises have become “ship intensive” cruises with a taste of ports. 
 

But we’ve sprinkled in dozens of other destinations cruises worldwide. 

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From CLIA's 2020 cruise outlook guide, published December 2019.  Since 2021 is such an abnormal year, I feel this is more representative of the "normal" picture for deployment of cruise ships:

 

image.thumb.png.f75bbb96cec39df75372a7e7000324ae.png

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7 hours ago, clo said:

I just saw this as a statement on another thread.

 

Is this true and, if so, why is that? Is it that they generally cost a lot less?

 

So again, is the Caribbean the main destination for Americans? 

 

5 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

I think yes, because they are the largest cruise lines, and cater to families and younger folk who can’t afford longer cruises, or those that require extended travel to get to the port.  Those also can’t afford the time for longer, more distant cruises.  

 

Another reason they are popular with Americans - no need for the added expense and/or hassle (not my words, but arguments I have seen made on cruise critic) of getting a passport on closed loop cruises. 

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1 minute ago, capriccio said:

Another reason they are popular with Americans - no need for the added expense and/or hassle (not my words, but arguments I have seen made on cruise critic) of getting a passport on closed loop cruises. 

Do you think that's really a factor? Could it be that 'those people' aren't very brave/adventurous so the passport thing is just an excuse? I'd not really had that thought before.

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Just now, clo said:

Do you think that's really a factor? Could it be that 'those people' aren't very brave/adventurous so the passport thing is just an excuse? I'd not really had that thought before.

 

I think it is more often a factor for novice international travelers - especially families with one or more kids - not sure they want to expend the money for a passport they think they may never use again and/or who have sticker shock at the price.

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1 hour ago, navybankerteacher said:

I love the Caribbean - or, more precisely some Caribbean islands -- but coming ashore for a few hours with thousands of others - who come close at times to outnumbering the local population is a pretty poor way of going about it.  Going to an island for a week or so is the way to experience an island.  I may cruise there once in a rare while - in December 2019-January 2020 we cruised on QM2 from NY to several islands - but that was more for an easy way to get there than for a serious  effort to appreciate it.

 

But getting on a plane to fly to Florida to get on a ship for a few crowded hours on a few islands -- no.  I think I'd prefer a series of visits to a periodontist.

We have discovered a nice way to deal with the Caribbean and it is called MSC's Yacht Club.  All the amenities of a large vessel coupled with the ship within a ship area of the Yacht Club.  When we bother to get off at an island (we often just stay on the near empty ship) we go our own way.  So, for example, if we are on St Maarten we might rent a car and drive to Happy Bay Beach (you actually must hike there from another nearby beach).  On many visits and when we have rented Condos on the island we have never, ever, seen another cruise ship passenger at Happy Bay.  When on Curacao we also will often rent a car and drive over 25 miles towards Westpunt where we stop at places like Jeremi Beach or another place on that far end of the island where you seldom see other cruisers.  My point is that on most of the islands there are places to go that are not crowded and are not overrun with cruise ship excursions.  

 

The one island where it seems to be almost impossible to escape cruisers (or traffic jams) is St Thomas...which is why we seldom bother to get off any ship at that port.  Port days on a ship are wonderful with no crowds, good service, no blasting music, etc.

 

Hank

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