The Caribbean cruising industry is one of the largest in the world. Over 45,000 people from the Caribbean are directly employed in the cruise industry.17,457,600 cruise passengers visited the islands in the 2011-2012 cruise year (May 2011 to April 2012. The industry is responsible for over $2 billion in direct revenue to the Caribbean islands in 2012.
Cruise lines operating in the Caribbean include Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America, P&O, Cunard, Crystal Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, however there are also smaller cruise lines that cater to a more intimate feeling among their guests.
The three largest cruise operators are:
- Carnival Corporation,
- Royal Caribbean International
- Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Some of the American cruise lines in the Caribbean depart from ports in the United States, “nearly one-third of the cruises sailed out of Miami”. Other cruise ships depart from Port Everglades (in Fort Lauderdale), Port Canaveral (45 miles east of Orlando), New York, Tampa, Galveston, New Orleans, Cape Liberty, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Charleston, Norfolk, Mobile, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Some UK cruise lines base their ships out of Barbados for the Caribbean season, operating direct charter flights out of the UK and avoiding the sometimes lengthy delays at US immigration.
The busiest ports of call in the Caribbean for cruising in the 2011/2012 year are listed below
|Rank||Port/City||Country||Passenger Arrivals (2012)|
|3||Charlotte Amalie||United States Virgin Islands||1,887,096|
|5||George Town||Cayman Islands||1,443,200|
|7||San Juan||Puerto Rico||1,176,700|
|10||Cockburn Town||Turks and Caicos Islands||676,647|
|12||Basseterre||Saint Kitts and Nevis||629,200|
|13||Saint John’s||Antigua and Barbuda||594,800|