Although the cruise industry continues to highlight the younger demographics in cruising, it is a fact the over 55’s age group that dominates cruising numbers.
There is no doubt that the under 55’s cruisers are growing in number, perhaps due in part that they are following the lead of their parents and grandparents who have long realised what great fun and value cruising is.
Family group holidays are becoming very popular and one may often see three and four generations cruising together.
Australians have taken to cruising like ducks to water. For so long, we were considered second-rate cruisers, with only “old tubs” allocated to our waters, or the occasional five-star ship passing by on their world voyage, but no more. We have some of the best ships at sea based here, not only just for our cruise season, but year round.
In the annual CLIA report it became official, Australia is the most prolific cruise nation, based on the percentage of Australians who have taken a cruise.
The Australian cruise industry is now ranked number one in the world for market growth and penetration, with latest industry figures revealing a record 833,348 Australians took a cruise last year.
The latest Cruise Industry Source Market Report shows Australian cruise passenger numbers soared 20 per cent in 2013, more than double the growth rate of any other major cruise market.
With the equivalent of 3.6 per cent of the Australian population taking a cruise in 2013, Australia has become the first nation to ever achieve a stronger penetration rate than the world’s largest passenger source market, North America. In 2013, the equivalent of 3.3 per cent of the North American population took a cruise.
Announcing the report findings, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Chairman Gavin Smith said Australia was “punching well above its weight” in the international cruise industry.
“Australia is still a relatively young cruise market, yet the number of Australians taking a cruise has grown by an enviable average 20 per cent a year for the last 11 years as a growing number of travellers discover the many joys of cruising,” Mr Smith said.
Brisbane Comes of Age
Almost mirroring Sydney, Brisbane has finally become of age as a vital cruise hub and destination.
In the past, many slightly tired old ships seemed to be retired there, but fortunately no more. Ships cruising from Brisbane in our 2014-15 cruise season will include Sea Princess, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel, Pacific Pearl, HAL Volendam, Rhapsody of the Seas, Diamond Princess, Crystal Symphony, Voyager of the Seas, Seabourn Odyssey, MV L’Austral, MV Europa, MS Seven Seas Mariner, Arcadia, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary II and more.
WOW, what a great selection to choose from!
Also, many thousands of Australians not from Queensland and including overseas passengers will join cruises in Brisbane, adding millions of dollars to the local economy.
Get the Best out of Cruise Season
It’s that time of year again when more ships will be sailing down-under to call Australia home until April next year. More ships than ever before should mean even more cruising bargains. Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America, P&O and more all have new ships heading our way.
I won’t say we will have an oversupply, but I believe pricing will become even more competitive and there should be some great bargains. How do we get to know about these often last-minute super deals?
They are not often advertised in the mainstream media, so it is important to get on the various major lines email lists as this is often the only way they will promote last-minute deals. Also, find a good travel agent (preferably one that is an accredited cruise agent) and ask them to put you on their cruise mailing list. Savings of 25, 35 and sometimes even 50 per cent can be had, but these deals often sell out in hours. Early booking discounts are also often available, so plan ahead and move fast.
Don’t just buy the cheapest fare. Divide the number of days into the total fare and compare the per-day price. Compare the facilities and included extras, some ships are more child friendly. If your travelling without young kids, you may choose to cruise outside of school holidays, although children are so well looked after in their own areas – I have never found other people’s children a problem.
[pullQuote]“I won’t say we will have an oversupply, but I believe pricing will become even more competitive and there should be some great bargains.” [/pullQuote]
When booking, don’t be misled by the age of a ship. Most have undergone refits costing tens of millions of dollars and are virtually “new ships”. Do your homework, read several reviews and don’t be put off by the occasional bad one. Some people are never satisfied and take out their aggression in a negative review. When writing reviews, I talk to as many fellow passengers as possible and weigh up their experiences and comments as well.
It’s an exciting cruise year ahead!
To me, cruise season is all year round. By our next issue I will have been on two cruises in the Northern Hemisphere and I look forward to reporting on them.
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