The International Cruise Council Australasia has expanded its cruise line membership, welcoming exploration cruise operator Cruise West to the industry association.
Announcing the new membership, Cruise Council's General Manager Brett Jardine said the latest industry figures indicated Australians were embracing a wide range of cruise holidays.
Cruise West falls into the small-ship expedition category, which is becoming more popular amongst travellers.
"New ships continue to be launched around the world, giving passengers more itinerary choices and prompting rising numbers of Australians to choose cruise holidays, including expedition-style cruising and river cruising," Mr Jardine said.
"Continuing solid sales in the face of an economic downturn gives travel agents yet another reason to join the Cruise Council and brush up their cruise knowledge to boost their bottom line."
Cruise West offers small-ship exploration to remote and distinctive destinations in Alaska, the United States' West Coast, Central America, Mexico, Asia, Galapagos, Antarctica and Europe's Danube River.
The company's signature small-ship cruising allows up-close encounters not offered by larger vessels. With guest capacites ranging from only 78 to 148 like-minded individuals, the experience is intimate, casual and participatory.
Cruise West President & Chief Executive Officer Dietmar Wertanzl remarked that the company was pleased to become a member of the Council.
"Australia has been a growth market for Cruise West so it just makes sense for us to join the International Cruise Council Australasia. Australians have always had a keen sense of adventure and love of travel, which are certainly two attributes of the Cruise West experience."
Mr Jardine said the addition of Cruise West would take the Council's cruise line membership in Australia to 26.
Other small ship and expedition Council cruise members include Captain Cook Cruises, North Star Cruises and Orion Expedition Cruises.
The International Cruise Council Australasia is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 1996, committed to training travel consultants and raising consumer awareness of cruising.