Australians embrace the high seas
AUSTRALIANS continue to lap up life on the high seas and embrace cruising holidays. And Queensland residents, in particular, are hopping on board in ever-increasing numbers.
Sunshine Coast resident Sally Henebery, 59, tried her first cruise ship four years ago and has not looked back.
"You unload once, you unpack and everything is on board,” she said.
"You don't have to unpack or repack and drive to the next destination. You just have to relax.”
She and her husband Peter, 61, have been on 10 cruises since her sister-in-law invited them on their first short cruise, or "taster” as Mrs Henebery called it.
Her initial wariness over seasickness soon gave way to enthusiasm for cruising holidays.
"When you travel on a boat you're with people so you have company all the time,” Mrs Henebery said.
"You really get to know people and have fun.
"When you travel by vehicle you're not really meeting people.”
The Heneberys name South-East Asia as their favourite destination to date.
"I'd been there 45 years ago and wanted to see if it had changed,” Mrs Henebery said.
She also said the cost of cruising was attractive.
"The more you cruise the cheaper the cruises are because once you've been on one they give you more and more specials,” Mrs Henebery said.
The Heneberys are not the only Australians to take to life on the high seas. A report released earlier this year, in May, found one in every 19 Australians took a cruise last year.
The 2016 Australian Ocean Passenger Cruise Industry Source Market Report also found the most popular cruises were itineraries in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, which account for 76.7% of Australian cruise passengers.
Queenslanders, in particular, have fallen in love with luxury cruising. Sunshine State residents now account for a quarter of all luxury cruise liner Azamara's Aussie bookings.
This makes the state the second-largest source market in the country.
Azamara chief executive officer Larry Pimentel said destination trends for the cruise liner's Aussie travellers next year still included Europe, and Japan had emerged as a travel hotspot.
"I'm quite pleased to see Japan booking very aggressively in what we call a 'country intensive',” Mr Pimentel said.
"That's a more intensive pattern of calls within one single country. In Europe it's Croatia. And recently one of the things we've seen pop is a circumnavigation of Cuba.”