Last year 65,609 New Zealanders took a cruise, which is a record number and an increase of 10,6% in one year. This means that New Zealand is the 3rd fastest growing passenger market in the world following Australia (with 20,4% growth) and France (13,6%).
Although the NZ cruise market is quite small by international standards, New Zealand cruisers have more than doubled over the last 5 years, according to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Australasia.
CLIA's New Zealand Cruise Industry Source Market Report for 2014, released in Auckland, also confirmed that the most popular destination appealing to Kiwi travelers is still the South Pacific, with over 20,000 passengers (31,4% of the market), followed by Europe (with 12,000 passengers - 18%).
Declining in popularity was Australia, with numbers dropping by 41% due to the reduction in Australian itineraries which depart from Auckland, according to Brett Jardine, CLIA Australasia general manager.
45% more locals chose voyages in New Zealand waters (which accounts for 7,519 passengers, 11,5% of the market). The Caribbean region rose 46% while "Other Americas" (including Eastern Canada, South America, Hawaii and Mexico) grew by 44%.
River cruising also boasts a healthy increase of 31% to 5,464 New Zealanders.
The cruise sector is a valuable part of New Zealand economy. It has contributed $436 mill in value added earnings during the 2014-2015 season and supported 8365 jobs.