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The cruise ship market is a 30 billion-dollar industry, and in 2013 it is estimated that it will carry more than 20 million passengers; nor is there any sign of a slow down in the seven percent annual growth. What keeps the passengers coming in such huge numbers isn't the food, the ports or the entertainment. They come for the magnificent floating palaces themselves, the giants of the sea. In this new book, the author showcases the most influential cruise ships of the last three decades beginning with Royal Caribbean's ground-breaking Sovereign of the Seas. When she was launched in 1988 she was the largest passenger ship constructed since Cunard's Queen Mary entered service some 48 years earlier, and her entry into service sparked a fiercely competitive building boom that continues to this day. The reader is taken aboard thirty of the most spectacular ships to reveal how their innovative designs changed the landscape of modern cruising. By employing original and archival photographs, deck plans, cruise programmes, as well as the author's intimate knowledge of many of these vessels, a unique picture is built up of these great ships and it becomes clear that the true Golden Age of Cruising is not in some distant past but exists right now, and that its origins can be traced back to one ship, launched in 1988. A truly sumptuous and fascinating book for all those drawn to the world of the modern cruise ship.