Demand for cruising has expanded rapidly from the 1980s, leading to a new generation of large and luxurious ships.
Cruise ships are designed for the purpose of providing passengers with a holiday including accommodation and entertainment prioritising onboard amenities and comfort. Unlike the traditional ocean passenger liner, they are not designed with the primary purpose of transporting passengers from one location to another, they instead transport passengers between ports based on a holiday itinerary.
Larger cruise ships can today accommodate more than 6,500 guests onboard, plus as many as 2,000 crew and staff on board, making the cruise industry a key provider of jobs in the maritime industry.
The cruise industry is also a key player in the global tourism industry, with cruise passengers representing a welcome source of income for port communities and beyond. Remote holiday locations have also become more accessible with the advent of cruise holidays, making many previously inaccessible locations open to all.
Cruise ships are expensive to construct, with the largest vessels costing over $1 billion to build.