More than 1.2 million Australians embarked on a cruise last year, giving us the highest ratio of cruisers per capita in the world.
Last year one in 19 Australians took a cruise, an increase of 21 per cent compared to the previous 12 months. That gave us the biggest year-on-year increase on record, with 1,281,159 Australians taking a cruise in 2016.
In fact, Australia has the highest ratio of cruisers per capita in the world, according to Cruise Lines International Association Australasia managing director Joel Katz.
Australians' favourite cruise destination was the South Pacific, attracting more than 42 per cent of ocean cruise passengers, while New Zealand pulled ahead of Europe in 2016 as Australia’s third most popular destination overall. (Australia was number two.)
Short break voyages of four days or less grew by almost 60 per cent, but eight to 14 day cruises remained the most popular.
While Alaska saw a 25.5 per cent increase in Australian passengers, other long-haul fly-cruise destinations experienced a fall in 2016, with Europe falling by 11.8 per cent and Asia by 10.1 per cent.
Snatching nearly 80 per cent of the additional 222,378 Australians who cruised in 2016 were Carnival Australia’s seven brands: P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O Cruises World Cruising.
RCL Cruises, which incorporates big-ship cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises as well as boutique line Azamara Club Cruises, added two ships to its locally based fleet in 2016, including Ovation of the Seas, the country’s largest megaliner.
Top image: Princess Cruises.