||Bob Dickinson, Andy Vladimir
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It's a typical Saturday morning in July. Americans all over the country are heading off on their one-week or two-week vacations. In New York, men and women wearing white gloves and dressed in the navy blue crew uniforms of the Queen Mary 2 are at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports to greet passengers coming in from all over the world. There are the Ow family from Beijing, the Tatas from Bombay, the Ambersons from Liverpool, and the Alberginis from Salt Lake City. All of them, along with a couple thousand others arriving by taxis, cars, and trains, will be boarding the Queen Mary 2 that day to cross the Atlantic to Southampton, England, in six and a half days. For many of them, perhaps one third, this will be their first voyage on any ship ever. For others, it will be their first transatlantic voyage. In Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Tampa, and Jacksonville, the Smiths, the Gonzaleses, the Jacksons, the Finches, the you-name-them are lining up to get onto the Carnival Destiny, the Voyager of the Seas, the Norwegian Dream, the Caribbean Princess, or the Celebrity Millennium. They will be sailing to Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Mexico, and dozens of other ports in the Caribbean and beyond. Some will be going through the Panama Canal and disembarking in Los Angeles, where thousands of people will be standing in line for the return trip. In Honolulu, the push to get on Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America will have started, and in Lisbon, Monte Carlo, and Piraeus, passengers will be boarding one of Seabourns luxurious vessels. In fact, with 10 million North American cmisers in 2005, we can say that all over the world, on every one of the seven continents, people will be boarding cruise ships to go somewhere— not just on Saturdays, but every day of the week. In a few short decades, what began in Miami as a small cottage business has turned into a mega-industry, pouring S32 billion into the U.S. economy in 2005 alone....