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Caribbean ranks as top cruise destination worldwide, reports say

Most cruise passengers in 2015 will be heading to the Caribbean, trend reports say.

If you're going on a cruise in the Caribbean, you're in step with passengers across the globe.

The azure waters and beaches of ports of call like the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Martinique, Turks & Caicos and Guadalupe are among the most popular destinations for 2015 cruises, according to cruise trend reports announced Tuesday.

Online travel insurance company InsureMyTrip says 37% of cruise passengers are booking trips to the Caribbean, 36% to Europe, 10% to Alaska and 17% to other destinations.

Top ranked cruise destinations after the Caribbean are the Bahamas (which aren't in the Caribbean Sea), Alaska, Italy and Mexico.

Trade organization Cruise Line International Assn., or CLIA, also says the Caribbean is tops with cruise travelers but noted that interest in Mediterranean destinations continues to grow as do destinations in Asia and Australia.

Twenty-three million passengers are expected to sail in 2015, a 4% increase over last year's estimated 22 million cruise passengers, and 62% are returning passengers, CLIA says in the report.

Other trends identified by CLIA include:

-- A focus on building creative features and amenities for cruise travelers, not just super-sized ships; and

-- Specialty cruises, particularly river cruises, have jumped by 21% annually from 2009 until last year.

CLIA's report in part was based on a survey of 482 of its travel agents in North America and on market research of 1,600 U.S. and Canadian residents.

InsureMyTrip's report was based on a variety of internal data, Bureau of Transportation Statistics figures and other data.

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