Until the mid 1960s, it was less expensive to cross the Atlantic by ship than by plane, but the emergence of the jet aircraft changed that rapidly. Within a few years this created a fleet of unprofitable and underutilized ships — some went out of business and were sold for scrap and those that survived offered sailings south to the sun along with a few transatlantic voyages. The Caribbean and Bahamas as a destination and the cruise itself as a vacation became increasingly appealing and an entire new industry took shape. Cruise lines began forming — Norwegian Caribbean in 1966, Royal Caribbean in 1970 and Carnival in 1972 are probably the most recognized and unlike other less fortunate cruise lines that also opened for business, are still operating today.
Sailing on traditional, contemporary cruise ships has become a major part of the tourism industry accounting for almost $30 billion and 19 million passengers worldwide in 2011. The cruise industry’s rapid growth has seen nine or more newly built ships added every year since 2001. Operating year round and seasonally deployed, passenger ships sail to (and from) virtually every part of the globe offering accommodations and features designed to suit every type of budget. Although there are a few older and smaller cruise ships still in service, the majority of vessels today are larger designed to carry a few thousand guests, rather than a “few” passengers like the specialty vessels featured on the Small Ship Cruises page on our website. The sailings listed in this section represent a selection of promotional cruises we are currently offering on traditional, contemporary cruise ships. Separately, our promotional Cruise Calendar presented in simplified format includes sailings listed on our website plus additional offerings. The Cruise Calendar is updated periodically and appears in our quarterly TravLtips issue. We prefer to email information for Website and Cruise Calendar programs so be sure to give us your email address when inquiring about any of the listed programs. Please note: we attempt to publish as accurate a promotional sailing schedule as possible, but occasionally programs will sell out or change after publication.