Harvey World Travel consultant Jenna Anderson says the popularity of cruises is on the rise thanks to the strong Aussie dollar. People also like not having to pack and unpack each day.
Harvey World Travel consultant Jenna Anderson says the popularity of cruises is on the rise thanks to the strong Aussie dollar. People also like not having to pack and unpack each day. Tony Martin

Travellers opt for overseas cruise

MORE and more Australians are waking up in the morning, looking out their windows and discovering they’ve moved.

And Mackay holiday-makers are no different, as the strong Aussie dollar boosts the popularity of cruise boat getaways.

Harvey World Travel Mackay marketing and business development manager Karin O’Grady says more local travellers are opting for higher-end international cruises because their dollar can buy more.

“Because of the strength of the Aussie dollar, things that were out of people’s reach prior, like your European River Cruising, are becoming more affordable for people,” Ms O’Grady said.

“Not everyone can afford the flights (to Europe) but they are in closer reach than they used to be.

“It’s something a little bit different – you’ve got your big ocean liners, but your river cruising uses smaller, longer vessels and you’re cruising along at a slow speed.”

Ms O’Grady said people liked the convenience and safety of holidaying at sea or along a river.

“You unpack your bag once, so everything stays there, but you’re going on each of the ports and experiencing the cultures of those countries.

“It’s an easy option.

“A lot of people like not having to put their hands in their pockets all the times – on a lot of cruises, your meals are all included.”

Seven-day cruises from Australia to the South Pacific had always been a favourite of Mackay travellers, and were a good choice for a first-time cruiser wanting to test the water, Ms O’Grady said.

More cruising products were coming on the market as their popularity grew, further fuelling the market, she said.

Higher-end cruising in Vietnam was emerging as a new favourite with Mackay people, she said.

The 2010 Australian Cruise Industry Report reveals cruise passenger numbers surged by 27% last year, with 466,692 Australians holidaying at sea.The top destination for Australian cruise passengers was the South Pacific, which accounted for 37% of the market, while Australia attracted 19% and New Zealand 10%.

Europe and Asia attracted eight per cent of passengers, while Alaska appealed to four per cent.

Six per cent of Australian cruise passengers opted for a river cruise, the report said.


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