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More Australian holiday-makers choosing to cruise

August 19, 2014 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Offering everything from on-board cooking classes to special-interest lectures, adventure activities, kids’ programs, Amazonian piranha-fishing and Antarctic whale-watching, contemporary cruise holidays cater to all kinds of travellers – not just golden oldies or partying singles.

Indeed, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show that the number of Australians taking cruise holidays has grown by almost 41% since 2011…

In the 12 months to June 2014, 10,699,000 Australians took at least one long holiday of three nights or more. Of these, 4.5% (or 480,000 people) took a cruise holiday for their last long trip — a significant increase since June 2011, when it was 3.2% (or 341,000 people). In fact, in the year to June 2014, more Australians stayed aboard a cruise ship on their last long holiday than in a campervan, B & B, caravan or youth hostel/backpackers.

There’s no doubt that the vast majority of Australians who take cruise holidays are from the more mature end of the spectrum, with 161,000 being aged 50–64 (33.6%  of total Aussies whose last long holiday was a cruise) and 180,000 (or 37.5%) being 65+.

Sailing the seven seas: Australians whose last long trip was a cruise holiday


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2010-June 2011 (n=10,372) and July 2013-June 2014 (n=9,217). Base:Australians 14+ whose last holiday was more than three nights.

As the chart above reveals, however, the proportion of younger Australians taking long holidays aboard a cruise ship has fallen despite cruise companies’ efforts to attract a more youthful market.

Seeing the world from the waves

Almost three-quarters of people (71.5%) whose last long trip was a cruise holiday of three or more nights went overseas — a dramatic contrast to the overall domestic-international ratio of Aussies’ holiday destinations during this period.

The South Pacific was the most popular regional destination for those who stayed aboard a cruise ship on their last long holiday, accounting for 19.1% of cruises taken; followed by Europe (including the UK) at 16.4%. Asia (12.6%) was the third most popular region. Most people who took a long cruise holiday reported spending an average of 21 nights away.

Angela Smith, Group Account Director – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Forget the 80s kitsch of The Love Boat — cruise holidays have come a long way since then! Whether you’re looking for total relaxation, an action-packed itinerary or a solo adventure, there’s a cruise holiday to suit. No wonder more Australians are hitting the high seas than ever.

“In recent years, cruise operators such as P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean have been offering activities and packages aimed at more youthful travellers, but this market has yet to really ‘get on board’ with the idea: in fact, the proportion of under-50s taking long cruise holidays has fallen since 2011.

“On the other hand, the over-50s market is booming! Over the past few years, there has been extremely healthy growth in the proportion of Australians aged 50-64 and 65+ taking cruise holidays, and this trend shows no sign of abating. After all, we have an ageing population.

“Our data indicates that people who took a cruise holiday in the last year are far more likely than average to enjoy holidays where everything is organised for them, but considerably less likely to enjoy doing as little as possible when on holiday. Knowing and understanding the preferences and behaviours of their target market gives savvy cruise operators an edge on their competition in this niche (but growing) sector of the tourism industry.”

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