Australia may have recently taken out top position as the world’s most cruise-mad country, but their Kiwi cousins across the ditch aren’t far behind – positioned as the world's third-fastest growing cruise passenger market with a record 65,000+ New Zealanders cruising in 2014.
While the market share is small by international standards, the number of Kiwi cruise passengers has more than doubled over the past five years, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia – increasing by 10.6% in 2014 alone.
New Zealand passenger numbers have increased by almost 150% since 2006, and in 2014 New Zealand outperformed large, well-established markets such as Germany and North America in terms of growth.
Kiwis Cruise Near and Far
The 2014 New Zealand Cruise Industry Source Market Report confirms the most popular destination for Kiwi cruisers continues to be the South Pacific (20,000 passengers), followed by Europe (12,000 passengers), though an increasing number of Kiwis are also sailing further afield, with the Caribbean region growing by 46%, and other American regions, including Hawaii, Eastern Canada, Mexico and South America, increasing by 44%.
The number of Kiwis cruising Australia dropped by 41 percent due to a reduction in Australian itineraries departing from Auckland, however 2014 saw an increase in domestic cruising, with 45% more locals choosing cruises in New Zealand waters.
Young and Old, and Probably Living Up North
So what does the average Kiwi cruise passenger look like?
First of all, they’re likely to be from the North Island, which represents 82% of the total NZ cruising market. Second, they’re inclined to book their cruise between 3 – 12 months before setting sail, with 42.4% of passengers booking 6 – 12 months in advance, and 30.5% booking 3 – 6 months in advance.
In terms of age, Kiwis are a mixed bag – with around 40% of passengers aged at both ends of the spectrum. Just over 20% of New Zealand cruisers were aged younger than 40 in 2014, while just over 19% were aged 70+. The proportion of passengers aged 65 years and older rose from 31% in 2013 to 33.5% in 2014, and the number of passengers aged under 40 increased by just over 3%.
While voyages of 8-14 days remained the most favoured cruise duration for New Zealanders in 2014, representing 51.8 per cent of passenger numbers, the largest growth was seen in the 5-7 day range, where numbers rose by 40% and represented 23.8% of the total market.