Kiwis look to cruises to escape winter holiday blues

Kiwis are looking to cruising as the perfect escape from winter holiday cabin fever with a surge in 2013 winter cruise bookings this month.

Complete Cruise Solution, Carnival Australia’s New Zealand office, says it has experienced a sudden rush this month of bookings for cruises next winter as frustrated parents look for a warmer way to spend the holidays.

The bookings surge follows a particularly cold winter season in New Zealand so far, with temperatures for June and July on average 2 degrees lower than average, according to the National Climate Centre.

Complete Cruise Solution New Zealand Sales Manager Belinda Clark say most popular are bookings for the South Pacific Islands and Queensland leaving from Brisbane, with more holiday-makers wanting to ensure their mid-year dose of sunshine and bookings for families in particular are on the increase. 

“Families are seeking relaxing types of holidays and the all inclusiveness of a cruising holiday, with meals, entertainment and childcare all taken care of is a winner all round,” says Mrs Clark.

Mrs Clark says top sellers for next year are the 10-night Island Charms cruise to Vanuatu in April and 15-night Sunshine Odyssey cruise to Sydney and Queensland in May, both onboard P&O Cruises’ Pacific Pearl.

Pacific Pearl, which is currently undergoing refurbishment, will have its home port in Auckland next winter season from April 2013, making a cruise holiday even more convenient for Kiwis wanting to escape the winter chill.  

The busy bookings period is closely in line with statistics released by the International Cruise Council of Australia (ICCA) earlier this year reflecting the rapid growth of cruising as a holiday option for New Zealanders.

A record 56,749 Kiwis took a cruise holiday in 2011, a 32 per cent increase from the previous year and more than double the passenger numbers from five years ago.