When Cruise Lines International Association this week announced 1.3 million Australians took a holiday on the water last year, one sector stood out as a rising star: fly cruise.

So news that Qantas will be ready to fly direct to Europe and the US from Sydney and Melbourne next year should have been greeted with laud applause by the 320,000 Australians who flew to their ships in 2018.

After all, even though it means 21 hours to Europe or 19 hours to New York non-stop, it saves time and may even be cheaper.

But a survey of Cruise Passenger Facebook readers may come as a surprise to CEO Alan Joyce and his fellow Qantas executives.

Over half (51%) said they would rather have a stop over. Only 36% said they would definitely prefer to fly direct, though 13% did say they didn’t mind either way.

Mr Joyce told The Financial Review on Monday that the airline is ready for the flights next year.

But he said what they would do to keep people occupied, entertained and healthy during the longer hop from Sydney and Melbourne is still a work in progress.

Qantas already flies direct Perth to London, a mere 17 hours for the 14,498 km journey.

Our readers were divided over which would be the best way to fly to a cruise. But most felt a stop-over was preferable.

“Would much rather stop over somewhere for a couple of days and get over one flight before starting another. It definitely eases jet lag on long haul flights and we get to enjoy a mini break in another destination too”, commented Linda Brooks.

“Stopover which will allow the body not to suffer the effects of expressed oxygen, especially those with blood thickness problems. Too much time in an aircraft just may expose people to unnecessary health problems,” said John Ashton Whittle.

But Margaret Grandison was in no doubt.

“Much prefer the direct flights. I don’t like wandering around various airports or the stress of getting from one gate to the next in time.”

What’s your view? Leave your comments and join the debate.