THE cruise industry continues its global growth with a 77% increase in passengers over the past decade. In that time passenger numbers soared from 12 million to over 21 million, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), cruising.org.au
The new data shows that 55% of global cruise passengers were from North America, 30% from Europe (including the UK and Ireland), and 10% from the Asia Pacific region where Australia accounted for more than half the passengers.
The average length of a cruise was usually seven days with three or four port calls, but australiancruisingnews.com notes that Australian passengers often prefer longer cruises, especially after a long-haul flight.
As these new figures were released, Australia’s summer cruise season opened with a record-breaking schedule of 642 port calls by 36 cruise ships in the next six months.
The ships (including seven cruise ships that are based in Australian year-round), will carry tens of thousands of Australian aw well as international tourists around the continent, and to New Zealand and the South Pacific in that time.
On her inaugural season outside US waters, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Legend (carnival.com.au) launched her season Down Under by sailing into Sydney Harbour today (September 22), with Ponant Cruise Line’s L’Austral (ponant.com) making her first call to Australian waters on December 24 when she sails into Cape York in North Queensland, and MSC Orchestra (msccruises.com.au) sailing into Cairns (North Queensland) in March next year.
A highlight of the summer cruise season Down Under will be the rendezvous of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria in Sydney Harbour on March 12 next year, cunard.com