Especially in the recent past, cruising has become a global phenomenon.
In Germany, for example, in 2019, the last year before the pandemic, no fewer than 2,6 million people undertook such a journey on rivers or oceans - after a long series of annual increases: In 2005 less than one million Germans took a cruise.
However, if you don't just look at the pure numbers, based on the total population, but also at the cultural influence cruises have, then there is probably no country at the moment that can rightly be described as "cruise-loving" like the USA . In XNUMX, nearly XNUMX percent of all cruise passengers worldwide held US passports. For comparison: We Germans, as second place, made up only XNUMX percent.
But why is it? Especially under the impression that America, from tropical beaches to glaciated high mountains, has practically every type of landscape found on earth in its own country?! So much can already be revealed: There are some coherent reasons for this.
Fort Lauderdale -Port Everglades
Reason 1: Easy accessibility
As is well known, in order to go on a cruise, it is essential to go to a seaport. While other nations can boast of this, the United States has a unique concatenation of beneficial factors:
- Strictly speaking, the United States has direct access to four different seas: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico - even if the latter two waters are marginal or contiguous seas of the Atlantic. In addition, the five Great Lakes in the north-east of the USA must also be mentioned, which also offer a sea feeling due to their gigantic size.
- About 40 percent of all Americans live only in those states that directly border these seas. Even more than half of all US residents live within a 50-mile radius (approx. 80 km) from the coast. Again, there are even more when you include the Great Lakes.
- All told, the United States has nearly 96.000 miles (154.500 kilometers) of coastline. As a result, there are extremely many ports from which cruise ships set sail.
In other words, a significant majority of all Americans can book a cruise, only have to sit in the car for a few hours on the day of departure, can drive straight into the port, so to speak, and enjoy a cruise. No connecting flights are necessary, no stopovers, no superfluous hotel accommodation before the holiday starts immediately. There is almost no other country on earth that has such a low-threshold access. This greatly benefits another US peculiarity:
Reason 2: The typically few vacation days
AIDAcosma Infinity Pool & Ocean Bar
Anyone who works full-time in Germany in a five-day week is legally entitled to at least 20 paid vacation days. As far as the law is concerned, things are completely different in the USA. In fact, the concept of paid minimum vacation time does not exist there. Everything is a matter of negotiation between employer and employee.
As a result, the vast majority of Americans working in the private sector (nearly XNUMX percent of all US employees) only have significantly fewer vacation days per year– almost always staggered according to years of service. In XNUMX, for example, an American employee who worked for the same company for five years received an average of only XNUMX paid vacation days. The German legal minimum was only reached after XNUMX years. In addition, for fear of job losses, many do not even take all of these few vacation days.
What this means for US vacation interests is obvious: Many Americans then act according to the motto "if so, then so". If there is only a little vacation, then these days should really be filled with relaxation and adventure.
The cruise lines, which are so easily accessible, offer exactly that on their ships. In addition, there is the geographical location: In particular, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico due to their relatively small spatial extent in connection with numerous neighboring countries and many islands (in the Caribbean alone more than 7.000) is an ideal area for cruises with numerous ports of call - and on top of that, with the best weather conditions almost all year round.
Reason 3: No need for big advance planning
Even the simplest all-inclusive hotel vacation requires a bit of pre-planning if you don't just want to spend all days at the pool and the hotel's beach, but also want to see something of the area. In this regard, there is probably no other form of vacation that is as carefree as a cruise.
If you are a passenger here, you only have to book. He can lean back in the good conscience that real professionals were at work in planning the trip. The ship will only dock at places that are really worth seeing, you get all the must-sees, plans and much more in your hand - if the excursions are not carried out right away by the cruise line.
More all inclusive is practically impossible. This fact is true to the nature of many US cruise passengers:
- few vacation days,
- To experience a lot,
- ideally no stress at all, not even during the preliminary planning and
- no negative surprises that could spoil the holiday experience.
Reason 4: The love of gambling
Many Americans love to gamble. In fact it even has there a cultural meaning in the form of the "Indian Casinos" operated only by native people. At the same time, however, the USA is once again a country of stark contrasts in this regard: most of the XNUMX US states rigorously prohibit gambling.
This leads to a situation where, apart from the few Native American casinos, gambling is mainly available only in Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Americans like gambling, but not everyone likes to travel hundreds or thousands of miles just for that reason.
This is where cruise ships come in – and international maritime law: Twelve nautical miles (about XNUMX kilometers) off the coast of each country the validity of many state laws ends, even if the real "high seas" only begin at XNUMX nautical miles. This means that even if you are on a ship belonging to the respective country, Many rules no longer apply beyond these twelve miles – just like the US gambling bans.
What still applies are the laws of the country whose flag the ship is sailing under. As a result, the casinos on most cruise ships (with Disney Cruise Lines being the notable exception) are generally available to Americans with impunity, even if the ship is not in the territorial waters of states where gambling is legal. Even a typical cruise peculiarity is still a relief for Americans: In Las Vegas and Co. you can only play at 21, on cruise ships almost always (or "only") at 18.
By the way: Historically, the alcohol bans of the 1920s in the United States as a whole, and in many other states thereafter, are partly responsible for Americans being exposed to cruising.
Reason 5: Entertainment to the max
If there's one thing most Americans love, it's being able to put on a really good show -- with lots of frills and lots of effort. What seems a bit exaggerated to some Europeans can still delight the masses there.
Again, cruise lines can satisfy all of that in one complete package. Live music, parties, galas - here you will usually find a rich selection of everything that makes the show-loving heart beat faster. All this is garnished with a service that seems luxurious to many non-Americans, but is customary in the motherland of service thinking.
As a passenger, you can let yourself be pampered, treated like a Hollywood star regardless of your social standing and experience so much that can hardly be summarized in so few days with any other form of travel.
Reason 6: Family accessibility
When cruising from the USA, it is comparatively easy to book a larger number of cabins. In any case, much easier than trying a similar approach with typical tourist hotels.
For the final time in this article, this fact meets a US peculiarity: People mobility there is significantly greater than in many other nations. Families therefore often live scattered all over the USA.
On a cruise ship, everyone can come together in the simplest way; often even in neighboring cabins. Because if Americans like nothing less than a good show, then great experiences together with their loved ones - regardless of whether they are married or blood relatives