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A true prodigy: the history of cruising in the Australasia region

A true prodigy: the history of cruising in the Australasia region

  • Cruising is fast becoming a favorite for Australian holiday-makers
Beautiful shot of Sydney, Australia showing the Opera House and harbor bridge

Beautiful shot of Sydney, Australia showing the Opera House and harbor bridge

  • Cruising in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific is a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s one that is growing at a rate of knots.

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P&O presents its newest cruise ship serving Australasia… 

  • By Sarah Glover – Guest Contributor from Cruise Sale Finder
  • Although a bit of a newcomer to the cruising market, Australasia is shaping up to be a major player in the global game.
  • For quite a few decades, cruising for pleasure rather than travel was mostly exclusive to the Northern hemisphere, while Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in general were perhaps destinations for the odd intrepid cruise ship. In recent years, that has turned on its head with the global expansion of cruises as a way to holiday, and Australasia has welcomed the idea of oceangoing adventures with open arms.


History of cruising to Australia aboard P&O and its liner CANBERRA… great video… 

  • The ports of Australia and New Zealand were certainly not unfamiliar with ocean liners during the 20th century, but for the large part these were transporting immigrants from Europe to the antipodes: an industry more of business than pleasure.
  • After the advent of long-haul flights in the 1960s put paid to most transatlantic crossings, ocean liners were repurposed on leisure tours in the Caribbean – the birth, essentially, of cruising as it is known today. However, it took several more decades for the concept to travel south to the lands down under.
The early P&O Fleet...

The early P&O Fleet…

P&O’s early cruise fleet… 

images-1P&O’s Pacific Sky began sailings in the region in the year 2000, soon joined by fleet-mates Pacific Sun and Pacific Star, then the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl, a trio which are still in service today. Although P&O Australia is still the most prolific line in the region and the only one dedicated entirely to Aussie and Kiwi cruise tastes, from 2008 there has been an insurgence of Northern Hemisphere-based lines assigning ships to sail from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland and more Australasian ports. Some have even been refitted for the market with Australian power-points, AUD as onboard currency and small touches such as Vegemite in the breakfast buffet. Carnival’s Australia-based ships have added an adrenaline-inducing water slide just for Australasian cruisers, and trained up their onboard baristas in the art of the perfect flat white.

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Pacific Aria… One of P&O great new cruise-ships serving Australiasia… 

After the slightly delayed start, the Australasian cruise industry has been making up for lost time with unexpectedly high rates of growth: an average of 20% annual increases in passenger numbers has seen the projected numbers underestimate reality every time. Australia has been established as the world leader in market penetration with 4.2% and a milestone one million cruisers achieved in 2014. Across the Tasman, the much smaller population of New Zealand is similarly taking to cruising with enthusiasm, and is also fast becoming a popular destination, thanks to its scenic ports and stunning Fiordland region. The country will see 127 cruise visits in the 2015-2016 summer season, up 500% since 2005.

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