Kiwis are well known as a cruisy lot and the big lines are offering ever more options to entice us on board.
Kiwis are taking to the cruise industry in greater numbers than ever before - and a holiday on the seas is likely to get even cheaper.
At the Cruise Lines International Association's state of the industry address in Auckland last week, general manager for Australasia Brett Jardine said more ships would lead to lower prices.
"I think greater competition will lead to competitive pricing and that's a good thing for the market. The travel agents will certainly be encouraging cruise lines to send ships down here."
By the numbers
Jardine was able to trumpet some promising numbers, with New Zealand maintaining its position as one of the world's fastest-growing cruise markets. CLIA numbers showed a record 65,609 Kiwis (about 1.4 per cent of the population) took a cruise holiday last year. That's a 10.6 per cent increase on the figures from 2014, making New Zealand the third-fastest growing market in the world, behind Australia (20.4 per cent growth) and France (13.6 per cent).
The total number of Kiwis cruising has more than doubled over the past five years, with an average annual growth rate of 17.3 per cent since 2009. It's likely to keep growing, too, as more ships - and bigger ships - head for these waters.
Although the New Zealand cruise market is still small by international standards, the equivalent of 1.4 per cent of New Zealand's population took a cruise last year (up 0.1 per cent on 2013) giving the nation a greater market penetration rate than established cruise markets like Spain (1 per cent) and France (0.9 per cent).
All at sea
The numbers also showed that Kiwi cruisers spent almost 680,000 days at sea last year, with the average length of a cruise at 10.4 days. More than half of all passengers opted for journeys of 8-14 days.
The main growth areas for New Zealanders were in river cruising, with a rise of 31.2 per cent to 5464 passengers; cruises to the Caribbean region, including the Bahamas and Panama Canal, which grew 46.1 per cent to 2629; and the Other Americas region including Hawaii, Eastern Canada, Mexico and South America, which rose by 44.1 per cent to 4310.
However, the number of New Zealanders cruising to Australia dropped 41 per cent to 4633 which reflected a decline in the number of transtasman cruises.
Another interesting revelation was that 82 per cent of New Zealand cruise passengers hailed from the North Island.
Bigger and bigger
The big ships coming to these shores are good for local economies. When Royal Caribbean's giant Ovation of the Seas pulls into the Port of Tauranga on its maiden voyage to New Zealand in the summer of 2016/2017, it will bring 5000 passengers and an estimated $780,000 boost for local business.
Cruising for a cause
Regular cruisers who are sick of being served, now have the opportunity to do some serving themselves - and for a good cause.
Carnival Corporation is launching trips where passengers sail to a destination to volunteer there, with a new brand, Fathom, to handle the trips.
The first voyage will be a seven-day trip from Miami to the Dominican Republic in April next year on a ship that carries 710 passengers.
Passengers will get orientations, basic Spanish lessons and other training en route, and can choose from activities in the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic ranging from teaching English to building water filters to cultivating cacao plants for a women's chocolate-making co-operative. The trips will take place on a regular basis to have a "sustained impact and lasting development," according to Carnival.
With 62 per cent of passengers being repeat cruisers, the big lines are always looking for a fresh approach. Carnival will also hope the "voluntourism" market will bring a younger demographic on board.