By Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends

ONLINE stats are backing the cruise grew fastest.ustry’s assertion that it’s on a roll as holiday makers across the world search for travel deals with no hidden extras.

Hitwise reports that Australian traffic to the Travel – Cruises industry category grew 15.2% this January compared with 2008, echoing a US trend that’s been apparent for some time.

Analyst Sandra Hanchard said people were searching hard for the best value with search terms including ‘cheap cruises’ increased by 20% year on year.

“Many of the recent search variations on ‘cheap cruises’ included local destinations, such as Cairns, Perth and the Whitsundays,” she said.

“Searches on locations further abroad included the Mediterranean, Pacific Islands and Africa.”

Hanchard said P&O Cruises Australia was the leading local site with 14.81% market share of visits, “while Australian cruises aggregators, Ozcruising and Best Cruises also performed strongly”.

The fastest-growing top 10 cruise sites were Princess Cruises and

Anecdotal evidence suggests cruises are gaining in popularity because people want to take all-inclusive holidays.

On a cruise all you’ve got pay for is the drinks, though at times like these even that could get a little expensive.

Travel Trends: March 3, 2009

(NB: All figures compare January 2009 to January 2008).

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