Australians in love with Asian cruises
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.
ON BOARD: New data shows Aussies are fuelling a cruise boom in Asia.