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All at sea: One in four Aussies plan to cruise this year, and it's under 35s pushing out boat

Business

One in four Australians plan to go on a cruise this year, with younger people the most likely to set sail, a new survey has revealed.

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The figure is more than three times that of last year, representing a much-needed recovery for the cruise industry which struggles with its reputation for being an older persons’ holiday.

According to a survey by the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia released on Monday, 35 per cent of Millennials and Gen Z plan to cruise this year, compared with 18 per cent of over 65s.

The Forum’s chief executive Margy Osmond, said cruise ships offer value for money, at a time when particularly younger Australians are struggling with the cost of living.

“Any misconception cruises are only for retirees and families is outdated,” she said.

“From Michelin-star restaurants and yoga, to tattoo parlours, free Wi-Fi and other services for remote workers, there’s something for everyone.”

Among the company’s now catering more directly to young people are Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages, which docked in Sydney last year ahead of its inaugural summer sailing season.

More than a quarter of Australians are also “cruise curious”, according to the survey, meaning they are considering taking a cruise for the first time.

Just over 30 per cent of people said they have been on a cruise before.

North Queensland topped the list of most popular Australian cruise destinations for 2024, followed by Tasmania and Sydney.

“It’s a great result for North Queensland tourism operators, who lost revenue from the devastating floods and cyclone over the Christmas and New Year Period,” Ms Osmond said.

“The region is well and truly open for business and still the most appealing destination for cruise holidays.”

For overseas destinations, New Zealand was the most popular for 2024, followed closely by Europe and the South Pacific, including Fiji and Vanuatu.

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