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Transatlantic companies faced with excess capacity in the off-season began to experiment with using their ships for cruising in the 1890s. The battened-down ships of the North Atlantic lacked the amenities required of more indolent vacationers in warmer climes, and the first purpose-built cruise ship, the Prinzessin Victoria Luise, was commissioned in 1900. She carried up to two hundred first-class passengers on pleasure trips to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the Caribbean.
Long-distance passenger liners are today a thing of the past, but the number of people who take sea cruises every year—between 14 and 20 million passengers worldwide in 2010—far exceeds the number of passengers ever carried by ocean liners.