New Zealand Leads the World in Cruise Growth

The number of New Zealanders taking an ocean cruise broke through the 100,000 barrier for the first time in 2018, reaching a total of 112,000 passengers in a year of world-leading growth.

The record result was a 14.6 per cent increase on the previous year, giving New Zealand a growth rate well ahead of the world’s largest and more established cruise markets including the USA (9.4 per cent) and Europe (3.3 per cent).

The figures were released today (May 6) in the annual Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) 2018 Ocean Source Market report for New Zealand. They showed a strong momentum in the Kiwi market, with passenger growth averaging 13.5 per cent each year over the past 10 years.

“New Zealanders have developed a strong passion for cruising, resulting in growth rates that are among the highest in the world,” said CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz. “Not only are they choosing a cruise to explore the world in increasing numbers, they’re also opting to cruise in their own waters to see more of New Zealand.”

Growth was driven primarily by a 20.6 per cent increase in the number of New Zealanders cruising within the South Pacific, Australia and domestically. The number taking fly-cruise options in destinations further afield also grew, up 3.2 per cent on the previous year.

Mr Katz said the report provided backing for Auckland Council’s recently approved plans to improve berthing facilities at the city’s Queens Wharf.

“Boosting capacity in Auckland will ensure increasing demand among both New Zealanders and international visitors can be met in the future,” Mr Katz said. “This, together with the development of a new cruise berth at Lyttelton to serve Christchurch, gives us confidence New Zealand’s cruise sector will continue to grow well into the future.”

Other findings from the 2018 Ocean Source Market report include:

The equivalent of 2.5 per cent of New Zealand’s population took an ocean cruise last year, giving the nation a greater market penetration rate than established markets like Italy (1.3 per cent), Spain (1.1 per cent) and France (0.8 per cent).

The average age of the New Zealand cruise passenger dropped from 52 to 51, with around 60 per cent of passengers aged under 60.

The most popular cruise duration was 8-13 days, attracting 46 per cent of cruisers. Shorter voyages of less than four days saw the biggest increase, up 144 per cent.

The majority of New Zealanders cruised within the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia (69.2 per cent). A total of 36,500 sailed on South Pacific cruises (up 27.5 per cent), while 27,100 cruised in New Zealand (up 18.1 per cent) and 13,900 sailed in Australia (up 9.3 per cent).

Europe/Mediterranean was the most popular long-haul region (12.1 per cent), followed by North America/Caribbean/Hawaii (10.6 per cent) and Asia (4.7 per cent).

In the inbound market, about 200,000 people came from other regions to cruise in Australasian waters in 2018, more than half from North America.

Worldwide, 28.5 million people took a cruise in 2018, a 6.7% increase on the previous year. This figure is forecast to break the 30 million barrier in 2019.

(CLIA Australasia)