Australian cruisers are visiting Asia, Northern Europe, Alaska, Mexico and New Zealand, plus taking a record number of domestic cruises according to the latest stats from the Cruise Lines International Association released yesterday.
For the first time, CLIA separated the ocean and river cruising statistics and the figures show that 1,058,781 Aussies took an ocean cruise last year. A 42% increase in domestic cruises was one of the most significant factors for that record number. Almost 270,000 people cruised locally, driven by the impressive range of short cruises on offer, new regional ports and more ships in our waters. Cruise it: Take a seven-night cruise around Tasmania, calling at Melbourne, Hobart and Port Arthur, onboard Carnival Spirit from $749 per person.
Cruise passengers visiting Asia jumped by a staggering 71.5% in 2015, with just over 95,000 Australians heading to the region. They’re drawn by the ever expanding range of ports and ships cruising in the region, which shows no signs of slowing down. Cruise it: Dream Cruises is a brand new Asian line launching in November this year. Take a seven-night round trip cruise onboard Genting Dream from Hong Kong, visiting Vietnam and China, from $1,890 per person.
Northern Europe is back in fashion with an increase of 22%. Just under 30,000 Australians made the journey to see the Norwegian fjords, the historic Baltic capitals or search out the Northern Lights. Add to that the 71,000 cruisers who visit the Mediterranean and Europe is clearly the most popular long haul destination. Cruise it: A 14-day cruise onboard Holland America’s new Koningsdam departing Amsterdam visits ports like Stavanger, Bergen and Flam along the coast of Norway and into the Arctic Circle. Prices start from $1,899 per person.
Alaska experience a similar jump of just under 20%, bringing the total number of Aussie cruisers in the region to 33,000. Keep an eye out for the next issue of Cruise Passenger magazine, on sale in June, to see what makes cruising in Alaska so special. Cruise it: Travel along the famed Inside Passage from Seattle with Princes Cruises, calling at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. prices start from $1,179 per person.
And it seems our love for the South Pacific might be waning. Though it remains the most popular destination for Australian cruisers, accounting for more than one third of all cruises taken, passenger number fell by just over 2% for 2015. Could it be that we’re now looking for more exotic destinations as our first port of call?