Cruise Growth Continues as 1 in 18 Australians Take to the Seas


It’s full steam ahead for the Australian cruise market, with one in every 18 Aussies having set sail on the high seas in 2017. This welcome stat comes as part of the Cruise Lines International Association Australasia’ (CLIA) annual state of cruising report, which also revealed that the number of cruise passengers rose by 4.4% in 2017 – cementing the cruise as one of our favourite breaks to take down under.

To put these figures into some perspective, over 1.34 million Australians took an ocean cruise in 2017, which equates to around 6% of the world’s cruisers. Alongside the USA, Australia is the only global cruise market which has seen its passenger share rise by over 4% year-on-year, making it one of the world’s most lucrative and popular cruise regions.

What’s so encouraging about the recent CLIA Australasia report is the market penetration of cruising. With some 5.7% of the population has taken a cruise over the past 12 months, it’s clear that cruising has become the most desirable form of travel in Australia, capturing a growing number of holidaymakers each year.

Joel Katz, Managing Director of CLIA Australasia, is delighted with Australia’s ever-growing love for at-sea travel, describing cruising as having become “the quintessential modern Australian holiday”. He added: “As cruises continue to grow in popularity, more cruise lines will base more ships down under and the number of homeports and itineraries will only grow. With the equivalent of almost 1 in every 18 Australians cruising last year, Australians are overwhelmingly choosing a cruise as their holiday of choice and they’re coming back time and time again.”

South Pacific and Australia Remain Firm Favourites Among Cruisers

cruise ship travelling to destination

As well as highlighting the strength of the Aussie cruise market, the CLIA Australasia report also revealed the most popular destinations for the nation’s cruise-goers – and it seems like most passengers prefer staying close to home.

The South Pacific was the most popular destination for the Aussie cruise market in 2017, with 35% of passengers choosing to sail the waters of such as destinations as Fiji, Vanuatu, Tahiti and the Isle of Pines. And the shores of Australia weren’t far behind either, with our nation’s vast coastline attracting close to half a million cruise visitors in 2017 alone.

Commenting on the popularity of Australian cruise itineraries, Mr Katz said: “With about one-third of Australian cruise passengers embarking on an Australian itinerary in 2017, regional economies continued to reap the benefits of cruise tourism. As long as infrastructure allows, we will increasingly see vessels homeporting outside of Sydney in cities including Brisbane, Melbourne, Fremantle and Adelaide, and visiting regional ports such as Broome, Eden, Geraldton and Gladstone, to cater to this demand.”

What Else Does the CLIA Australasia Report Tell Us?

Cruise ship at destination

The CLIA Australasia report is brimming with interesting nuggets which paint an invaluable picture of the health of the Aussie cruise market. Here are some of the other interesting stats in the report which you should know about:

  • Around 200,000 international cruise-goers visited Australia in 2017, with the majority coming from the USA and the UK
  • The average age for Australian cruisers is 44 on South Pacific and regional cruises, jumping to 67 for longer haul expedition-style cruises
  • Asia is the most popular fly-cruise destination for Australian cruise-goers, accounting for 7.2% of travellers. This is followed by the Mediterranean (4.6%) and Alaska (2.8%)
  • The average cruise length is 9.1 days in Australia, down from 9.4 in 2016
  • 41 regional ports now service Australia’s coastline, outside of Sydney

Keep up to date with the latest cruise news and insight on the Cruise1st blog, where we publish articles and features showcasing the very best in Australian cruising. Ready to book your next cruise break? Head to the homepage or call our dedicated team today on 1300 857 345.



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