The Sea List
Just few decades ago, even those who worked in the cruise industry described their own demographic as "Newly-wed and nearly dead." That state of affairs has certainly changed. In 1970 some 500,000 passengers chose to vacation at sea; this year, that figure is estimated at 16 million, with the now-mainstream cruise industry contributing nearly $30 billion annually to the global economy.
In recent years, some hubristic major cruise-lines have launched billion-dollar vessels, decorated in strenuously good taste for passenger loads that can exceed 5,000. One notable spin-off of this relentless expansionism has been the parallel growth of "group and affinity" cruises: voyages that are tailored to specific (sometimes very specific) customer demographics. Being stuck on a boat with people whose tastes are virtually identical to your own might sound to some like some hellish floating chat-room—but for those of a less misanthropic bent, there are a smorgasbord of theme cruises available.