Asia continues to be the hot market for ocean cruise companies, with huge growth last year and even more this year. The Cruise Lines International Association reports that the market grew 24% last year, and is up another 43% for the first half of this year.
Chinese cruisers account for about half of the region's passengers, with nearly a million last year, and on track for well over that mark this year. No wonder every cruise line you've heard of has been moving ships to the Pacific and building new ships to be based there!
Other sources of cruise passengers last year include over 228,000 from Taiwan, around 180,000 each from Singapore and Japan, and 125,000 each from Hong Kong and India. And many of these passengers are first-time cruisers, so the companies see future market there.
This year, 60 ships are working those routes, up from 52 three years ago, and more and more are sailing Asian cruises year-round, rather than sending ships in seasons that are slack elsewhere. Also, larger ships are entering the market.
For more details, and lists of the most popular ports and itineraries, from Japan Today, click HERE
Photo: Carnival Spirit, now based in Sydney, is adding Vietnam and Thailand stops to its Sydney to Singapore cruises. (Tim Faircloth/I Love Cruising)