To answer the OP's original question, one reason is that many Americans who own/owned small businesses across America and represented a significant percentage of cruisers in the past(based on first-hand experience) have struggled over the last 8 years with the weak American economy and anti-business mantra of the previous administration while others, sadly, in record
numbers, have simply gone out of business. This has certainly has had an impact on total number of cruisers worldwide. However, the dynamics have shifted and a great majority of cruisers we have met recently are "pensioners" who worked 9-5 for thirty years for government
or major corporations collecting their weekly paycheck and a promise to pay for the future. In regards to flag etiquette, whether in the USA or abroad, we always proudly fly the American flag and feel no reservation when meeting other cruisers to announce our American citizenship. Having met people from around the world, I have never felt people were less willing to be friendly based upon my citizenship. Captain
Rognvald--a proud American.