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SINT MAARTEN, Netherlands Antilles -- A report published this month by the International Association of Cruise Line Executives (IACLE) showed that passenger boardings were up 44 percent over the past decade. That same report also showed that the volume of luggage brought aboard by those passengers has increased by over 150 percent during the same period. This has cruise lines executives concerned.
One Caribbean cruise line estimated that the volume of luggage brought aboard its week-long sailings to Aruba, Grenada and Martinique this past season accounted for as much as 82 percent of the available space in the passenger cabins. Indeed, stowage space for empty suitcases has become a major problem among all cruise lines according to IACLE.
In addressing this problem, some cruise lines are limiting the size and number of bags that passengers are allowed to bring aboard. Royal American Cruise Lines, for instance, will simply not allow excess baggage on board, requiring passengers to stow it ashore until they return to port. Other companies such as Ocean Sun Cruise Lines have added a surcharge when passengers exceed their allowance of 125 pounds each.
Crown Seas Cruise Lines, S.O. has taken a different approach. According to Savin Jaarindes, spokesperson for the cruise line based here, "We allow our passengers to bring aboard whatever they like — with the exceptions, of course, of firearms, illegal drugs, cell phones and Yanni recordings. Once they have settled into their cabins, we collect their empty luggage and literally toss it overboard to crews on tenders which are towed along behind our ships. Once we reach our ports, passengers are welcome to retrieve their luggage if they wish, but generally they are content just knowing that their bags are in tow and will be available to them when they are needed upon their departure."
Sources inside Crown Seas told Err Travel that the cruise line will begin promoting its "Caribbean Caddy Service" in television and print advertising in advance of the next Caribbean cruise season and expects to see bookings rise by 10 to 15 percent just by the addition of this new concept.
[Editor's note: If you will be sailing aboard a cruise ship other than one of the Crown Seas Cruise Lines' vessels this season, be sure to check with your cruise ship company about their rules on luggage restrictions.]
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