New Zealand’s biggest ever cruise season gets underway tomorrow when the Diamond Princess arrives in Wellington.
The Diamond Princess was scheduled to sail into Fiordland today, but has altered its route due to forecast bad weather, giving Wellington the opportunity to welcome the first ship of the 2015-16 season.
Following in its wake will be 33 other ships making a combined total of 701 calls to 16 ports around New Zealand, until 23 June when the Pacific Pearl sails out.
During that time, 267,800 passengers will land in New Zealand, a whopping 33% more than the 2014-15 cruise season.
Cruise New Zealand General Manager Raewyn Tan says it will be a gigantic season.
“Not only will there be more ships, but the ships coming will also be larger on average,” she says.
Eight of the expected ships are new to New Zealand waters, including Explorer of the Seas, whose sister ship, Voyager of the Seas, is currently the largest in passenger numbers. Princess Cruises will increase their Australasian fleet to five, introducing the Golden Princess to New Zealand.
The other new ships to watch out for are the Azamara Quest, Coral Discoverer, Costa Luminosa, Le Soleal and the Noordam.
“From November to February, we will host at least one ship in New Zealand every day. February is the busiest month, peaking at 10 ships in our waters on 8 February,” Ms Tan says.
A number of ports can look forward to several occasions when they will welcome two or more ships on the same day. This will happen in Auckland (17 days including Christmas Day), Wellington (12 days), Tauranga (10 days), Akaroa (9 days) and Dunedin (8 days).
For the first time, Gisborne will host a series of 10 regular calls by the Golden Princess.
“The growth in passenger arrivals in 2015-16 is calculated to support 10,354 jobs and inject $543 million in value added to New Zealand, up from 8365 jobs and $436 million in 2014-2015,” Ms Tan says.
“A big percentage of the wealth cruise generates goes to regions throughout the country, with passenger spending on onshore activities, attractions, shopping and food and beverages, plus accommodation for visitors who fly in or out of New Zealand.
“Cruise is playing an important part in helping the tourism industry achieve the Tourism 2025 goal of almost doubling annual revenue to $41 billion by 2025.”
For details of the 2015-16 cruise season, including information about dates, ports and ships, visit Cruise New Zealand’s website.