There’s literally a world of choice when it comes to Cruise holidays. These are the top 10 destinations for Australians cruisers.
1. South Pacific
It’s far and away and the most popular destination for Australian cruisers with more than 390,000 passengers heading in 2014, making up just under the 40 per cent of the total market. Most popular destinations – Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Departures from the east coast of Australia will give you a couple of days at sea before daily stops at different ports.
As an island nation, Australia is the perfect cruising destination. It’s also perfect for cruisers on a tight schedule. From adventure cruising around Kimberley Region to island hopping in the Whitsundays and gourmet breaks on the coast of Tasmania, there’s something here for every type of passenger. Large ships are typically based in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle with most departures from September to May.
3. New Zealand
Almost 90,000 Australians sailed across the Tasman in 2014, making New Zealand the third most popular international cruise destination. Most cruises will take in both the North and South Islands, sailing through the Fiordland National Park and stopping at Dunedin, Napier. Most popular season is from October to April when the weather warms up.
The Med is most popular long-hail destination for Australian cruisers and passenger numbers grew almost 20 per cent in 2014. West Mediterranean focuses on Italy, France, Spain extending to Portugal, Canary Islands. Looking for full European experience? Go for local lines such as Costa or MSC.
Asia is fast becoming a favourite with Australian cruisers as a record number of new ships are based there and new ports open up. China is set to be the world’s biggest cruise market by 2020. Singapore and Hong Kong are the key hubs and a great option for Australians looking to fly straight to their cruse departure point.
In 2014, river cruising grew by staggering 62 percent with more Australians than ever flocking to the waterways. European rivers such as the Danube, Rhine and Rhone are the birthplace of river cruising, but new destinations such as Spain, Portugal and Russia are opening up. In Asia, luxury adventure cruises ply the Mekong, Irrawaddy, Chindwin and Yangtze Rivers, generally with no more than 50 passengers.
Pack your layers for Alaskan cruising, even though ships only visit during summer it can still be very cold next to all those glaciers. Most itineraries begin in Seattle or Vancouver and cruise up through the Gulf of Alaska or along the calmer waters of the Inside Passage, calling at Juneau, Sitka and Anchorage. Wildlife is the big attraction here with whales, sea lions, seals, otters, eagles, bears and moose to be seen.
8. Northern Europe
Covering Russia, the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia, cruises through Northern Europe offer an incredibly diversity of culture, history, scenery and cuisine. Experience St Petersburg’s legendary “white nights” where the sun shines almost 24 hours a day, the Estonian capital of Tallinn that has remained almost unchanged for 600 years. Stockholm and Copenhagen are popular departure points. Cruising is also a great value way to see Scandinavia one of the most expensive regions in Europe.
The islands of the Caribbean are the world’s most popular cruise destinations, but Australians are only just beginning to catch on. Nearly every cruise line sails here; itineraries are generally divided into Eastern and Western Caribbean. Eastern cruises visit the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, British and US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico while Western cruises visit Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Belize and Honduras.
The white continent is truly the last frontier of cruising. Antarctica is the domain of small and sturdy adventure ships, though these range from the very basic to the suitably luxurious. The cruise season is short, from December to February, with most departures from Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina. Days are spent cruising through icebergs, whale spotting from the deck.
Australian Homeported Ships
Radiance of the Seas
Legend of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas
Ovation of the Seas (2016)
Emerald Princess (2016)
Carnival Cruise Lines
Seabourn Encore (2017)