Cruisers jumping on board to Australia

Image: Laura Parr

This summer marks the start of the biggest cruise ship season on record in Australia, but are we equipped with the infrastructure to deal with the trend? Laura Parr reports.

REPORTER: Australia is expecting its biggest cruise season on record this summer, with around half a million passengers visiting Australian waters. The season officially began on Friday 12th of October with the arrival of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Radiance of the Seas.

David Jones from Carnival Australia, said that this trend is only going to continue to increase.

DAVID JONES: Every year we announce that we’ve got a record cruise season, and this year is no exception. We’ve had seven consecutive years of double digit growth for cruising in Australia so the industry is really booming. Australians have taken to cruising with a great passion.

REPORTER: Mr Jones also said that cruising has enormous economic value not just for cruise passengers, but for the Australian tourism industry too.

DAVID JONES: That’s one of the reasons that cruising has taken off because it’s great value for individuals to start with – a great value holiday, unpack once and away you go – but from an economic point of view, cruising in 2010 and 2011 alone added $830 million, value added, to the Australian economy, so it’s the big standout success for Australian tourism.

REPORTER: But Peter Kollar from the International Cruise Council of Australasia, said that while the trend is of enormous economic value, Australian ports are not currently equipped to deal with the increase.

PETER KOLLAR: Infrastructure wise, as far as ports go, it’s probably straining at the moment. I mean the typical port is Sydney where we’re getting saturation to the point where we’re trying to source Garden Island from the military.

REPORTER: He said that along with government investment, diversification of port destinations will be the key.

PETER KOLLAR: I think also we need to start venturing into some of the smaller areas like Norton Island, Kangaroo Island, things like that, where we can get more of a diverse experience, not just your main Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide itineraries.

REPORTER: Although baby boomers are generally considered the main cruising demographic, Mr Kollar said this is no longer the case – with the average age of cruisers now at 46 years.

PETER KOLLAR: These days there’s over 350 cruise ships around the world, so you’ve got your family market, you’ve got your more mature market, your traditional market, you’ve got your multigeneration, your small cruising, mega cruising, sports activities… so there’s really something for everyone these days. It’s not such a stereotyped, finite demographic that the cruise market’s targetting.

REPORTER: This is Laura Parr, reporting for Baby Zoomers.

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