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CNN Today

Americans Cruise to Ocean-Going Vacations

Aired June 12, 2000 - 1:23 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to be talking about taking vacations all week, as we mentioned, and today it's cruises. And despite rising travel prices, millions of Americans will take vacations this summer. We begin today with cruising.

And CNN's Kalin Thomas-Samuel reports on why so many vacationers are setting sail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KALIN THOMAS-SAMUEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're one of the 90 percent of U.S. and Canadian residents who has never been on a cruise, you might be surprised to learn that cruising is the fastest growing vacation activity with nearly seven million passengers expected to take a cruise this year; that's according to the Cruise Lines International Association, or CLIA. That number is up from just under six million in 1999.

MARK ORWOLL, "TRAVEL & LEISURE" MAGAZINE: You can visit five or six different countries in the course of a single week-long cruise. You never have to repack your bags. Your airfare's usually included in the price, so you've taken care of all your transportation, your accommodations, your meals, everything all in one.

CAPT. DAG DVERGASTEIN, CRUISE LINES INTL. ASSN.: There is a cruise for every budget all over the world. I think you can go for $185 a day, all inclusive, up to several thousand dollars a day.

THOMAS-SAMUEL: But what's pegged as all inclusive, really isn't. Some passengers are surprised by the extra charges for drinks from the bar, including soft drinks, and the cost of excursions off the ship, plus, the many tips that must be handed out at the end of a cruise.

Still, cruise bookings are increasing, and to meet the growing demand, cruise lines are churning out new ships at record speed, with at least 13 new vessels being introduced this year, and with them, new itineraries.

DVERGASTEIN: But I believe that Southeast Asia in general, let's say, ranging from Hong Kong down to Bali via Bangkok, the different cities of Vietnam, as well as Singapore and Malaysia.

THOMAS-SAMUEL: And many of these new adventures will serve a younger crowd. According to CLIA, the number of cruisers between the ages of 40 and 59 is rising from 31 percent in 1992 to 45 percent in 1998. During the same time, the number of cruisers age 60 and over fell from 35 percent to 28 percent.

ADAM GOLDSTEIN, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES INTL.: We are well positioned to serve the baby boomer generation, and of course, we will also need to challenge ourselves, as the years go by, to address the needs of all of the generations.

THOMAS-SAMUEL: One way to appeal to different ages is with a theme cruise.

ORWOLL: You'll find sports theme cruises with sports celebrities onboard, there are natural history cruises with experts and lecturers.

THOMAS-SAMUEL: A new amenity for the modern cruiser: floating Internet access. Norwegian introduced the first Internet cafe at sea when its "Norwegian Sky" debuted last August, helping the cruise industry sail into the 21st century.

Kalin Thomas-Samuel, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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