Buoyant Cruising Trends
Cruise industry specialists predict continued growth for cruising with the latest International Cruise Council Australasia (ICCA) figures reporting an increase in New Zealand cruise passenger numbers by 30%, reaching 56,479 passengers.
According to the ICCA, the South Pacific remained the most popular cruise destination in 2011, accounting for 47% of New Zealand passengers and Alaska is one of the fastest developing markets experiencing 38% growth in 2011.
Cruiseabout brand leader Jessica Allan said the New Zealand market was growing rapidly as the industry’s leading cruise lines unveiled new ships and adapted to the demands of travellers with more diverse itineraries.
“The Allure of the Seas by Royal Caribbean International revolutionized cruising and lifted the bar on standards of luxury onboard, with features including a mini golf course, running track, aqua park, 10 whirlpools, a casino, 26 dining options and the first ever Starbucks at sea,” Ms Allan said.
Other luxury liners due to arrive into New Zealand include Seabourn Odyssey and Celebrity Solstice.
Allan said to secure the best rates and cruise departures, travellers must take advantage of early booking periods and seasonal promotions.
“Our advice to travellers, who are considering a cruise this year or early next year, is to book as soon as they have decided on their travel dates to lock in great prices.
“We understand that everyone is looking for a different cruise experience, so ask an expert to suggest a few cruises itineraries and deals to suit your ideal holiday.”
Other industry trends sparking interest in 2012 include:
- Increasing interest in Europe cruises, both on ships sailing in oceans and on Europe's rivers.
- Increased choice in dining experiences, with more specialty restaurants, guests chefs and local sourcing of food.
- Growing interest in theme cruises, particularly those revolving around food and wine, music, culture and art.