Australia is now the cruise line’s third largest source market after the UK and the US, with a far higher proportion of first-time Cunard cruisers than any other country.
Speaking at the World’s Leading Cruise Lines Summit with Australian and New Zealand travel agents, Cunard international development director David Rousham said 61% of Australian guests booked on cruises on Queen Mary 2 this year had been newcomers to the brand, compared to an average of 38% across other nationalities.
Meanwhile 39% of Australians on Queen Victoria had been first-time Cunard customers, more than double the average of 18% for other nations. Onboard Queen Elizabeth this year, newcomers have accounted for 43% of Australian guests, compared to an average of 29% for other nationalities.
Demand for world cruises is particularly strong, with Australia ranking as the second largest source market on the cruise line’s three 2014 voyages, representing 28% of guests compared to Britain at 40% and the US at 18%.
Queen Mary 2 first visited Australia in 2007 and has undertaken two circumnavigations of Australia and one of New Zealand while in 2014, for the first time, all three Cunard Queens visited Australia during the summer cruise season.
He said the debut of fly-cruises in the Mediterranean on Queen Elizabeth this year had clearly captured the imagination of Australians who were keen to explore Europe’s oceans on a Cunard ship, without sailing from Southampton.
‘Overall our Australian guest numbers have risen by almost one-third in 2014, with the number of Australians we are carrying on Mediterranean cruises more than tripling compared to 2013, and world voyage guest numbers also rising 20%,’ Rousham said.
He also noted the cruise line was also welcoming younger Australian guests onboard when its ships were in local waters .
‘While our world voyages naturally appeal to an older demographic which has the time to take a longer holiday, we’ve found that the proportion of guests aged between 19 and 50 years has more than doubled on the Australian coastal sectors of those voyages.’
Queen Victoria will undertake an eight-night roundtrip cruise from Sydney in 2016, which includes a first ever call to Kangaroo Island.