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Popular cruise destinations for kiwis!

If a cruise is something you’re thinking about and you’d like a good deal, read on…

I hob nobbed over a mini savoury and a filter coffee with cruise industry types who had gathered at an inner city hotel to hear the latest statistics from New Zealand.

Turns out we kiwis are heading for the sea more than ever before. Here are our favourite destinations for cruises – and some hot deals so you can dip your toe in the water. So to speak.

Windstar cruise Tahiti

The Windstar docked in Tahiti at sunset

More than 48,000 of us headed away on a love boat somewhere and this is where we went:

The Pacific Islands is still our most popular place to cruise with plenty of fly/cruise packages available. Well over half of the annual total of sailing kiwis cruised around the islands in our backyard.

River cruising is up on last year by a whopping 32%. I’m not surprised though because it’s a beautifully sedate way to see some of the hidden gems lining the world’s great waterways that you wouldn’t easily get to by road. No waves, plenty of scenery 24/7 and smaller boats than those mega-liners meaning you can get into villages with ease.

Asia is up, albeit on smaller numbers. But 37% more kiwis set sail in Asian waters in 2012 and this is the big trend to watch. Fly/cruise holidays are hot right now, and you get the option of adding a couple of days either side for some big city shopping or extra sightseeing.

Pandaw river cruise

How magic is this?!

Cruising around New Zealand also grew 35%. This is an encouraging stat because it shows just how many of us are loving exploring our own country, being ferried into places like Milford Sound, and then stopping at an assortment of ports that can include Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland and the Bay of Islands. The beauty of not having to hire a car and drive all that distance from day to day, to unpack into your cabin for a week or two, explore these towns and choose to dine onboard or off is what is so appealing.

But what’s also good is that cruise passengers are visiting these towns and spending moolah! Even better when it’s the Aussies – who, by the way, are increasing their cruise visits to NZ.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!