The Road Ahead : February March 2014
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 29 MAIN IMAGE: QUEEN ELIZABETH (ILLUSTRATION COURTESY CUNARD). CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ENJOYING THE SUNSET, FAMILY TIME, LAP POOL (COURTESY PRINCESS CRUISES), WELCOME ABOARD (COURTESY HOLLAND & AMERICA), SWEET TREAT (COURTESY P&0 CRUISES), TROPICAL COCKTAIL (THINKSTOCK). DEPARTURE INTERNATIONAL | TRAVEL FEB/MAR 2014 THE ROAD AHEAD OCEAN-GOING CRUISE SHIPS with their majestic profiles have always epitomised the romance of the sea. Once, the liners of Britain, France, Germany and the United States raced across the Atlantic to set the fastest time between Southampton and New York. Now, they cruise the globe at a more leisurely pace, seaborne pleasure palaces offering affordable luxury for a new generation of passengers. A record number of cruise ships are heading for Australia this year and Brisbane figures prominently in their itineraries. The fleet includes some of the best known and prestigious vessels in the world. These include Radiance of the Seas, Amsterdam, Seven Seas Voyager, Seabourn Odyssey, Crystal Symphony, Diamond Princess, Celebrity Solstice, Silver Whisper and Ocean Princess. Also, Cunard's Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. Those coming into Brisbane will make a stunning sight deftly navigating the river on their way to the Brisbane Cruise Terminal at Portside, Hamilton. Indeed, cruising is booming with Australian passenger numbers surging by 11 percent to reach a record 694,062 in 2012, the last year for which figures are available. The most popular destination for Australians was the South Pacific, which accounted for 36.4 percent of the market. Driving this revolution is the realisation that cruising is no longer the province of more mature travelers, with almost half Australian cruise passengers now under 50 years of age and a quarter under 40. Cruising offers a number of virtues, to which Australian travelers are rapidly becoming attuned. For one, you only need to unpack once, something travelers who have spent every second or third night of a holiday at a different hotel wrestling with a suitcase would particularly appreciate. Two, you also travel while you sleep and awake refreshed and full of anticipation of the brand new day ahead. When not at sea, this can mean awaking in a new port, where you have the option of taking part in an organised shore excursion or going for a self- guided wander. If you plan on the latter, book as far in advance as possible as the more popular ones sell out quickly. A record number of cruise ships are heading for Australia this year and Brisbane figures prominently in their itineraries.