Bruce - that is a very thought provoking argument - and I don't disagree with you although it sounds a bit elitist. Still, the truth is that when you go on cruise ships you tend to see things you never saw before (in terms of who is on the cruise) - you see people who look like they shop at TJ Maxx, and eat at McDonalds.
But what is even more firghtening is that the NEW generation of ships is going to appeal even more to these people.
I wrote a piece awhile back that said Project Sunshine, NCL Breakawy and the new Princess ships would be more crowded than previous ships. (I noted Sunshine had 4000 guests in 144,000 sq ft while Freedom has 3600 guests in 160,000 sq ft.)
But what I did not realize is that if you look at four of the new ships coming out in 2011 - Disney Fantasy, Carnival Breeze, Costa Fascinosa and MSC Divina you are already talking about ships with Passenger Space ratios hovering around 30.
The future is already here - these new ships are packed with people, very crowded. The future is already here.
Cruising has changed. What used to be a genteel way to see the world has become a floating amusement park in many cases. Arthur Frommer has been right.
Now the good news - you can still find those older, genteel ships; The S-class on Holland America (PSR 43), or even the Solstice class of Celebrity has a PSR of 40.
I think what we are going to see son is the emergence of a wider separation between mainstream and premium cruise lines - with Princess slipping down the scale towards mainstream with its new ships (3600 people in 141,000 tons, but at full capacity probably closer to 4200 people for a PSR of 33)