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Australian cruise passengers can take a bow for the second year running.

They have again broken records with highest proportion of ocean cruisers among the population at 4.5 % – taking the total for 2015 to 1,058,781.

That’s a 14.6% increase over last year, a rise second only to China’s rise of 40.3%.

Next year promises to see similar rises, with 336 ships expected. The next big milestone is two million ocean-going passengers by 2020.

Asia was the most rapidly growing destination, with 95,016 Australians – a rise of 71.5 per cent – going there.

Australians spent 10.4 million days at sea, with 383,889 choosing the South Pacific and 269,915 cruising in local waters on our homeported ships.

New Zealand saw a 10 per cent rise to 66,152, and over 100,000 Australians went to New Zealand – another record.

This year’s figures excluded river cruises, which will be reported later.

The South Pacific is still the most popular destination for cruisers, but more Australians are sailing Around Asia – the figure jumped from 55,000 in 2014 to 95,000 in 2015.

That’s a rise of over 70 per cent.

CLIA Australasia Chariman Steve Odell said Aussies were responding to the increase of cruises on offer.

“In 2015 we saw a range of new shorter coastal cruises sailing from Australian homeports and these have clearly captured the imagination of Australians, who see them as a new way to explore their nation,” said Mr Odell.

“What’s more, many of these cruises are calling at regional ports around the coastline, creating a lot of chatter and enticing more Australians to try a holiday at sea, while also injecting valuable dollars into local economies.”

Here are some of the stats:

  • Over a third of ocean cruise passengers (383,889) headed to the South Pacific. Australia was the second favourite destination.
  • Europe is still the most popular long-haul destination and attracted over 100,000.
  • The number of Aussies sailing to New Zealand increased by 13.5 per cent.
  • Short break cruises of four days or less increased in popularity while cruises of 15-21 days by more than 50 per cent.
  • Australia was the equal fourth largest source market in the world in 2015.