The 2016/2017 cruising season is drawing to a close in Australia, and it’s been one for the history books. As the last seasonal cruise ships depart for the northern hemisphere, reports of record sailings and cruise passengers flood the news. The industry is abuzz with predictions for next year and with announcements of new ships, expanded seasons and additional ports, it’s easy to get carried away with excitement for things to come.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, here are the top five Australian cruise results from this incredible summer.
1. Aussie domestic cruisers up by 23 percent
Data released from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) show that there were more Australians taking domestic cruises in 2016 than ever before. And this was no small increase - 332,979 Australians cruised from various ports around the country, representing an increase of 23.4 percent compared with last year.
New South Wales led the way in terms of numbers, representing just over 40 per cent of Aussie cruisers.
2. Holland America celebrates record-breaking season
Holland America’s Ms Noordam and Ms Maasdam both achieved record-breaking results over the summer. Based in Sydney, the two ships in total sailed 22 full voyages and 32 sectors of full cruises around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
“The beautiful South Pacific continues to entice and delight our guests, while Australia and New Zealand sailings remain popular for both our domestic and international guests.” said Tony Archbold, Director of Sales for Holland America Line in Australia and New Zealand. “In fact, the season saw a record number of international guests visiting our region, too.”
Ever wondered how much we eat on a cruise? On average, Holland America ship passengers devoured 22,000 eggs, 949 bottles of white wine, and 3,264 cans of local beer on each 10-day sailing.
3. Princess Cruises carries more passengers than any other line
Princess Cruises hosted 250,000 passengers on its ships this year, and report more cruise guests onboard for most nights out of all the cruise lines in Australia. With plans for a new ship to come Down Under in 2018, Princess continues to keep pace with industry growth.
Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises president for Australia and New Zealand, commented in a recent interview that 2016/17 was a huge success and “the biggest wave season for Princess”.
4. Cruising continues as Australia’s fastest growing tourism sector
The cruising category is worth almost $5 billion annually to the Australian economy, making it the fastest growing portion of the tourism sector. This lucrative industry also supports as many as 20,000 jobs directly, and many others indirectly (such as cafes and bars around the country).
Adam Armstrong, managing director for Royal Caribbean, said “we are seeing a cruise market that is on a growth path quite unlike anything that’s been seen in the world, outside China”.
5. Australia holds world record for cruise proportion
More and more Australians are discovering the benefits of cruising every year. In fact, interest in cruising has grown so much that Australia has the highest percentage of cruisers per population out of anywhere on the planet. The most recent data shows that 4.5 percent of Australians took a cruise in 2015, which amounted to just over a million passengers.
That number is expected to rise even further in the coming years, with some predicting that it will grow to 5 percent in 2017.
While the 2016/17 season has seen its final departures, some cruise ships continue to sail year round and next season’s itineraries are already on sale. Be part of this exciting and growing holiday option by booking your first cruise from Australia now.