Growth industry cruise shipping. Recent dynamic development and structural effects. This article summarizes the continuous dynamic development and proven strength of the cruise industry even in the present difficult economic situation. Starting small scale in the fifties, the industry enjoyed enormous annual growth rates in the USA since the eighties and now also in Europe, in 2009 servicing worldwide ca. 17 mio. passengers. This success story was written mainly by the American “big three” cruise companies Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL, which dominate the industry with a global market share of ca. 80 %. The same oligopolistic structure characterizes the situation of shipyards with only three major European companies dominating the market and producing all vessels of reasonable size. Finally, the article provides an insight on how much the cruise industry contributes to regional development of base and destination ports and hence provides revenue to local economies and income to the population involved.