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Cruise industry is ship-shape

Despite rising fuel costs and more stringent environmental regulations, the cruise industry expects modest growth in 2011 as eight new large ships debut, and consumers continue to shake off the effects of a recession, industry executives said Tuesday.

The Cruise Lines International Association predicts that 16 million people - three-quarters of them from North America - will vacation aboard cruise ships this year, up 6.6 percent from 2010. Last year's numbers exceeded the trade association's projections.

CEOs of six of the leading cruise lines, speaking during a panel discussion at the annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference, expressed tempered optimism for continued growth, noting the large untapped market worldwide for cruising. The industry said cruising still makes up around 3 percent of the vacation sector in the United States.

- Associated Press

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