Aus­tralians in love with Asian cruises

South Burnett Times - - ESCAPE - — es­cape.com.au

FROM tran­quil tem­ples and soar­ing sky­scrapers to bar­gain shop­ping and a foodie’s par­adise, Asia’s in­tox­i­cat­ing draw­ing power for Aussie tourists is fu­elling a cruise boom.

Data from Cruise Lines In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion Aus­trala­sia shows Asia, in all its cul­tural di­ver­sity, is eas­ily the most pop­u­lar long-haul fly­cruise des­ti­na­tion for Aus­tralian cruis­ers, ac­count­ing for 7.3 per cent of trav­ellers, fol­lowed by the Mediter­ranean (4.6 per cent) and Alaska (2.8 per cent).

But this is only part of the story. The flight is much shorter than head­ing to Europe or North Amer­ica and the Aussie dol­lar goes a lot fur­ther.

Cruise lines are cater­ing to de­mand with itin­er­ar­ies that show off bustling cities like Hong Kong, Sin­ga­pore and Shang­hai; ex­tra­or­di­nary seascapes such as Viet­nam’s Ha­long Bay and Thai­land’s Phang Nga Bay; and mys­ti­cal rivers such as the Ir­rawaddy and Mekong.

THE BEST TIME TO GO?

In South-East Asia the wet sea­son is gen­er­ally Septem­ber–Oc­to­ber while June–Au­gust and De­cem­ber–Fe­bru­ary are more com­fort­able. Na­tions around the equa­tor will be pretty hu­mid year-round. Sin­ga­pore can be wet Septem­ber– Fe­bru­ary and more pleas­ant from March to Au­gust, while Hong Kong can be hot and hu­mid with storms May–Au­gust while in Novem­ber–De­cem­ber tem­per­a­tures are com­fort­able.

WHAT ARE THE MA­JOR EM­BARKA­TION/DISEMBARKATION PORTS?

Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong are two ma­jor de­par­ture points. Both are cities worth spend­ing a few days ex­plor­ing in their own right.

IS IT LIKE CRUIS­ING FROM AUS­TRALIA?

Ob­vi­ously the port ex­pe­ri­ences will be dif­fer­ent but this may also de­pend on the ship. While some are geared to West­ern tourists, oth­ers are specif­i­cally aimed at lo­cal mar­kets, for ex­am­ple Princess Cruises’ Ma­jes­tic Princess and Nor­we­gian Cruise Lines’ Nor­we­gian Joy have been de­signed specif­i­cally for the boom­ing Chi­nese cruise mar­ket.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

ON BOARD: New data shows Aussies are fu­elling a cruise boom in Asia.

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