More than 1.2 million Aussies hopped on a cruise ship in 2016.
More than 1.2 million Aussies hopped on a cruise ship in 2016. Tony Martin

Wanna cruise? Record-breaking 1.2m Aussies set sail

ONE in every 19 Aussies took a cruise last year, and busted an industry record in the process.

More than 1.2 million Aussies hopped on a cruise ship for a holiday in 2016. The increase of 222,378 passengers getting on board is the biggest rise on record.

The numbers were released in Australasia's 2016 Australian Ocean Passenger Cruise Industry Source Market Report.

The most popular cruises are itineraries in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, which account for 76.7% of Australian cruise passengers.

Cruise Lines International Association, the organisation behind the report, also revealed that Australia achieved the equivalent of 5.3% market penetration.

"The growing capacity and the wide variety of cruising options being offered are capturing the imagination of Australians, with more Australians discovering that cruising is an easy, relaxing and value for money way to holiday," Cruise Lines International Association Australasia managing director Joel Katz said.

Mr Katz said further industry growth was being hampered by a lack of berthing options in major capital cities.

"To achieve the 11.8% annual Australian passenger growth needed to achieve the goal of 2 million passengers by 2020, there are significant challenges facing us as an industry here in Australia, particularly in Sydney. These must be urgently addressed," he said.

The annual report shows Australia has performed well ahead of leading established markets including, Germany, UK and Ireland, and USA/Canada.

Other key findings of the 2016 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market report include:

. Australia's favourite cruise destination was South Pacific attracting more than 42% of ocean cruise passengers (542,825)

. New Zealand pulled ahead of Europe in 2016 as Australia's third most popular destination overall, attracting 8.3% of passengers (106,737)

. Short break cruises for four days or less grew by 59.7% in 2016, and cruises of 22-plus days rose by more than 20%.

. The majority (89.3%) of all Australians cruising in 2016 took a cruise of 14 days or less

. Australians spent 12 million days at sea in 2016 with an average ocean cruising length of 9.4 days

. Australia was the fifth largest source market in the world in 2016 accounting for 5.2 per cent of global cruise passengers.

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