The history of the modern cruise industry can be traced to the early 1950s, when a number of transatlantic liner companies had to look for alternate usage of their vessels, following the introduction of air transportation service between North America and Europe.
Thus, cruise lines managed to win customers to their side, taking advantage of public's strong desire for exploration and exotic travel, and refitting their transatlantic liners for leisure cruising. In an effort to attract more travelers, the early 1960s witnessed cruise lines offering some moderately prices Caribbean cruises from ports in South Florida. The close proximity of Port Everglades and Port of Miami became major for the US-based cruise trips.
The 1970s saw the establishment of many cruise line companies, like Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines, the arrival of such European-based companies as Celebrity and Princess Cruises, and the creation of cruise trade organizations, the oldest and most conspicuous of these being the Cruise Lines International Association. It is composed of the cruise lines, which represent nearly 95% of cruise capacity marketed from North America.
Throughout its history, one of major cruise trade organizations, CLIA has adhered to its founding principles and performed its function, namely to provide forum for travel companies involved in marketing of the cruise liner industry of North America to meet and discuss issues of common interest and to pursue policies, aimed at promoting the idea of shipboard holidays.
In other words, the CLIA's function is to promote the cruise product through broad activities of advertising, public relations and travel agent training. Following the consolidation of several other cruise trade organizations into CLIA in 1984, the Cruise Lines International Association became the major marketing organization for its members. It has been constantly rated the most effective and successful travel association in terms of the quality of its training programs, value for money and support of travel agency community.
The most comprehensive training of the organization is its internationally recognized Cruise Counselor Certification Program, followed by classroom training, training videos, Management and Sales Institutes.
In 2005 the Cruise Lines International Association showed a great increase, as seagoing vacations enjoy more and more popularity among travelers worldwide. CLIA that represents 17,000 travel agencies and 19 North American cruise lines estimated that more than 10.5 million passengers have traveled on its ships as of 2005.
Even a greater success is expected in 2006, since the cruise lines make new efforts to improve their programs with new itineraries. Thus, key issues for the leading cruise trade organization in 2006 are determined as following: 150 vessels of various styles; new generation of ships; coverage of 1,800 ports from 19 cruise members of the organization; new Caribbean and European itineraries; voyages to Antarctica; and cruises for every possible taste and budget.