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Tourism and Travel: A Research Guide


Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Large cruise ship picks up passengers Mobile, Alabama. 2010. Carol M. Highsmith Archive. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In the U.S. when we think of cruises many think of the Caribbean, but there are cruises and cruise lines operating all over the world including a number along some of the larger rivers.

To keep people interested, cruise lines have been expanding their menu of activities and ship amenities. They developed activities for all ages and interests ranging from cooking to financial management. While most people taking cruises tend to be older, companies are increasingly targeting families, with Disney cruises being particularly child friendly. Companies have also developed themed cruises like all-kosher luxury cruises, cruises with "jam bands" and various classic rock themes, and even Star Trek and SciFi themed cruises.

Most companies own multiple lines; below are a few of the more well-known cruise line "families."

  • Carnival Corporation plc: Carnival Cruise Line; Princess Cruises; Costa Cruises; AIDA Cruises; Holland America Line; P&O Cruises; P&O Cruises Australia; Cunard Line; Seabourn Cruise Line.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.: Royal Caribbean International; Celebrity Cruises; Azamara Cruises; Silversea Cruises.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings: Norwegian Cruise Line; Oceania Cruises; Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Since 1970, the industry has experienced growth in the number of people taking trips as well as increased capacity. But this industry, much like airlines, can be heavily dependent on world events and the world economy. This industry is also been heavily impacted by health related concerns like norovirus, that depress bookings in the short and long term. This is particularly true when it comes the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. In the short term, many cruises were cancelled but the impact of the pandemic will have lasting affects. Issues related to occupancy/passenger limits, passenger hesitation, vaccination rates, etc. will continue. The long term nature of the pandemic has also provided cruise destinations time to really consider the positive and negative impacts the industry has on their communities with some choosing to limit or redefine the relationshipExternal between them and the industry.

Keeping up to date on this industry will require researching individual companies as well as the industry as a whole. To understand a company visit its website and look at its Investor Relations/About Us sections. You can also use our Doing Company Research guide for researching individual companies. Generally, keeping up to date in this industry will likely entail using news and trade publications so see the Subscription Resources section of this guide for options. This applies to those researching specific companies, the industry as a whole, as well as those researching specific trends and issues. We have also tried to include resources that provide data and information that will help researchers develop their own market profile.

For those doing research in this industry and needing to look at Census data in particular, this is an industry covered by two specific SIC and North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) and North American Product Classification System codes (NAPCS) that are market- or demand-based, hierarchical classification system for products (goods and services) that is not industry-of-origin based but can be linked to the NAICS industry structure. For more information on industry search strategies, you can use our Doing Industry Research guide.

Deep Sea Passenger Transportation
SIC 4481 / NAICS 483112

This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing deep sea transportation of passengers to or from foreign ports.

Cruise lines (i.e., deep sea passenger transportation to and from domestic ports, including Puerto Rico)
SIC 4481 / NAICS 483114

This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing water transportation of passengers in coastal waters, the Great Lakes System, or deep seas between ports of the United States, Puerto Rico, and United States island possessions and protectorates. Marine transportation establishments using the facilities of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority Commission are considered to be using the Great Lakes Water Transportation System.

Cruises, gambling
NAICS 713210

This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating gambling facilities that offer table wagering games along with other gambling activities, such as slot machines and sports betting. These establishments often provide food and beverage services. Included in this industry are floating casinos (i.e., gambling cruises, riverboat casinos).

Leisure and long-distance travel, tourism, and accommodation products

NAPCS 31402 Cruises

NAPCS 31403 Packaged and customized tours with accommodation, except cruises and academic trips and tours

Internet Resources