More than 104,000 Hawaii visitors traveled to the Islands onboard cruise ships during the first 11 months of 2011, a 14.5% increase over the same period a year earlier, according to a Jan. 14 Associated Press (AP) report.

A total of 59 cruise ships docked at Aloha State harbors during that time, a year-over-year jump of 11.3%.

Donna Ratte, the owner of the Cruise Holidays franchise in Palm Springs, Calif., told AP many of her customers who had previously booked cruises to Mexico are now choosing Hawaii sailings.

“Most people are still kind of scared about going [to Mexico], so they're gravitating more towards Hawaii,” Ratte said. “And those ships are just selling out.”

Despite the increased cruise demand to Hawaii over the past year, the state’s visitor industry has not yet returned to the prerecession peak of around 130,000 cruise passengers seen in 2007.
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