All aboard – The popularity of cruising continues to rise
Pulling into the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour has to be one of the highlights of any cruise, and it seems Australians agree – according to industry experts it’s predicted that one million Australians1 will hit the high seas next year.
The growth in the Australian cruise industry shows no sign of slowing down – rising by an average of 20 per cent each year for the last 11 years. So what is it about cruising that appeals to Australians so much that we are even out-cruising the Americans on a per capita basis?
One of the major benefits of cruising is that many elements of a holiday that usually cause stress are taken away. Reaching your destination, food, entertainment – it’s all covered. And most of it within the one price you paid upon booking.
Cruising can provide a means to visit many different places within the one holiday, without the hassle of driving or flying to reach them – ensuring you arrive at your new location refreshed and ready to explore. Food is available in abundance, with multiple restaurants and dining options to suit all tastes. If you don’t feel like dressing up to the nines every night – as was the traditional dinner experience on-board a cruise liner, you no longer have to. Most ships now offer casual dining alternatives.
On-board entertainment is always evolving, and the range of things to do whilst on the ship is broader than ever. Large scale productions, cinemas, casinos, spas – some even have bowling alleys. Most have a rotating schedule of events – everything from lectures and inspirational speakers, to fitness classes and barista courses. And that’s just for the adults – an exciting and non-stop kid’s activity programme is another major benefit for those travelling with younger family members.
Celebrating a big milestone or anniversary? The trend in multi-generational holidays continues to rise, as many people see it as a way to create memories and get great value for money. Cruises seem to tick a lot of boxes as the sheer variety of both destinations and activities on-board can cater for all tastes. No one gets bogged down with being responsible for organising the finer elements of the trip, and the boats are big enough that everyone can still have their own space.
It’s not all plain sailing
Like any holiday destination, there will be pros as well as cons. Sea sickness is a common concern, and while the size of the big ships does mean this isn’t usually a concern, if you do suffer badly when travelling on the water, you may be best to avoid this type of holiday. And a cruise is no different when it comes to unpredictable weather – with rain or storms still just as likely as anywhere else. On the plus side though – you won’t be stuck for things to do inside!
Even though a cruise can be all-inclusive, there may be several things you will pay extra for – city tours, snorkelling, horseback riding or scuba diving can come at an extra cost. Another disadvantage, albeit not a unique one to cruising, is pricing fluctuations during holiday periods. Prices can alter significantly – almost on a weekly basis as the departing date approaches a national holiday. This is something to bear in mind, especially when travelling with the wider family who may be bound by school terms.
It’s easy to be bitten by the cruising bug – many people enjoy the cruising experience over and again as their preferred type of holiday. And with the rise in popularity – amongst all generations – it looks like it is one trend that won’t be disappearing any time soon.