Ann Sherry has called it. The executive chair of Carnival Australia predicts more than two million Australians will take a cruise by 2020. It's a big call from an industry heavyweight but she should know, her company - with brands including Cunard, P&O and Princess among others - represents more than 80 per cent of the Australian and New Zealand cruising market.
There's no doubting our appetite. In the latest figures from the Cruise Lines International Association, more than a million Australians took a cruise in 2014, more than four per cent of our population has taken a cruise at some time and annual growth sits at 20 per cent. So, it's no wonder we have launched this inaugural Cruising Special in Gourmet Traveller (on sale now). This is one of the most exciting editorial initiatives we have undertaken. A big congratulations to editor Helen Anderson on bringing it to life - it's been 12 months in the making.
The breadth of experiences on offer in this travel sector are as exciting as they are diverse, be it a luxury Mediterranean cruise aboard Ponant's Le Lyrial, or a Silversea's expedition adventure through French Polynesia. And that's just the beginning.
But back to Sherry and those numbers on Australians and cruising. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at why Aussies are taking to it with such gusto. "I think part of the reason for cruising's growth is that we're a coastal nation, and Australians have a great affinity with the sea," she says. Amen to that.
Anthea Loucas Bosha
Gourmet Traveller's first-ever Cruising Special is on sale now, complimentary when you purchase our April issue, available in all good newsagents.