A record number of 65,609 New Zealanders treated themselves to a cruise holiday in 2014, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia reports, roughly translating into every 72nd Kiwi taking to the sea on board a cruise ship last year.
New Zealand passenger numbers surged 10.6 per cent in 2014, positioning the nation as the third fastest growing cruise passenger market in the world, after Australia (20.4 per cent growth) and France (13.6 per cent).
The result means the number of New Zealand cruise passengers has more than doubled over the past five years, with the market delivering an average annual growth rate of 17.3 per cent since 2009.
The 2014 New Zealand Cruise Industry Source Market Report shows that the most popular destination for Kiwi cruisers was the South Pacific which attracted more than 20,000 passengers (31.4 per cent of the market).
Europe ranked second on the cruise holiday list, with close to 12,000 Kiwis heading to the region for an ocean cruise last year (more than 18 per cent of the market).
Meanwhile an increase in the number of cruises close to home fuelled a 45 per cent rise in the number of Kiwis cruising New Zealand waters (7,519 passengers, representing 11.5 per cent of the market).
“While New Zealand is still an emerging source market for cruise passengers with a relatively small population, it outperformed most markets around the world last year in terms of growth,” CLIA Australasia General Manager Brett Jardine.
“These figures show us that more and more New Zealanders are recognising cruising as a great value and relaxing way to travel and are responding to the expanding range of cruises on offer.”
Jardine said the outlook for the New Zealand industry was buoyant, with a growth rate of only 7 per cent required to reach 100,000 passengers by 2020.
Image: P&O Cruises