Earthquakes Not Dampening New Zealand's Cruise Season

By ,   November 27, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

Cruise ships are due to inject precious tourism dollars into NZ's quake-affected regions. Currently, New Zealand heads into its bumper season.

In the period October 1-April 30, a total of 33 cruise ships will sail local waters, with 9 making their inaugural visits, according to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Australasia.

In the same period in 2015, New Zealand welcomed 28 cruise ships.

This week, the 113,000-tonne, 290-metre Emerald Princess made her maiden calls to 6 destinations, including Picton and Akaroa.

Emerald Princess

Most of the 3000 passengers travelling on the superliner were Australians, and "it takes a lot to deter them from travelling somewhere", said Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises vice president for Australia and New Zealand. 

"For us, there was a bit of uncertainty as to whether or not we could get into Picton and Akaroa, but as it turned out, there was no impact and everyone had a wonderful time," he said.

Allison said six Princess ships will make 202 calls to 11 New Zealand destinations over the season, injecting more than $75 million into communities around the country.

This included 24 visits to Wellington and five to Picton, worth an estimated $10 million in tourism dollars.

Among other visitors will be the largest ship to sail to New Zealand, Royal Caribbean's 167,000-tonne Ovation of the Seas, as well as the youngest and most luxurious ship to cruise local waters, the Seabourn Encore.

Kaikoura had been expected to welcome five cruise ships this season, including the maiden call of the ultra-luxury Seabourn Encore.

"Seabourn will actively monitor the situation in Kaikoura between now and our scheduled arrival on 23 February," a spokeswoman said.

"As always, Seabourn will do what is best and safest for our guests but also to support the destination and the community where possible."

Destination Kaikoura general manager Glenn Ormsby said while just a few businesses and tour operators were currently open, he was confident most would be open for customers in the coming weeks.

"I would like to urge them to lock in Kaikoura as a destination to come and visit in the months ahead when we are back and open for business," he said.

"Support us with your custom and allow us to give back through the world-famous hospitality and attractions we are renowned for."