Australians love affair with cruising continues to ride the crest of gigantic waves. A new report confirms that the Australian cruise industry is a world leader with passenger numbers growing by 11 per cent last year to a record high of almost 700,000.

Only Germany showed a similar growth rate, while North American passenger numbers grew by 2 per cent and the UK remained steady.

The 2012 Australian Cruise Industry Report shows that 3 per cent of Australians took a cruise which is the eighth consecutive year of double-digit growth.

Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) Australasia’s chairman, Gavin Smith says, “Australians are responding to the growing number of cruise holidays from Australian ports and to the strong Australian dollar which is encouraging more people to cruise overseas.”

The report shows almost half of Australian cruise passengers in 2012 were under the age of 50, one-quarter were under 40 years, and one-third were 60-plus.

On round trips from Australia and on New Zealand and South Pacific island cruises 84 per cent of passengers were Australian while international travellers represented 16 per cent, or close to 100,000 passengers.

River cruising numbers also continue to expand with 12 per cent more Australians (almost 40,000) opting for this niche holiday experience.

Cruise news log: Australian entertainers Bert Newton and Normie Rowe will be on MCS Poesia when its anchors off Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula for the ANZAC centenary in 2015. Poesia’s 36-day Gallipoli cruise leaves Australia on March 26 that year for Rome with port calls in Sri Lanka, Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Italy,

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