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New Zealand’s first winter cruise season kicks off

Monday 19 July 2004

New Zealand’s first winter cruise season kicks off

New Zealand’s inaugural winter cruise season kicks off tomorrow (20 July) with the first of four winter visits to Auckland by P&O Cruises’ Pacific Sky.

Auckland is the only city in New Zealand to host a winter cruise season, a recent phenomenon in the world cruise season calendar.

“Ports of Auckland is very supportive of the winter cruise season and actively promotes it,” says Will Harvey, Ports of Auckland General Manager Port Services.

“Our Marine Services team operates the cruise ship Overseas Passenger Terminal on Princes Wharf. The team has invested a great deal of time and resources in planning and operational procedures to ensure that each cruise ship visit is a success for all,” said Mr Harvey.

P&O Cruises’ New Zealand Business Development manager Shannon Currie said: “Cruising up to the Islands during winter is becoming popular with New Zealanders who want a winter escape, particularly mid-winter when demand is high for Pacific Island flights and accommodation.”

The Pacific Sky will depart with mainly Australian and New Zealand passengers on 10 to 12-day Pacific Island cruises. An average of 2,800 passengers and crew will transit, embark or disembark each time the P&O Pacific Sky visits Auckland.

By the end of the full 2003-04 cruise season (which includes the summer and winter seasons), Ports of Auckland’s Marine Services team will have efficiently handled over 55,000 passengers and crew (and their large volume of luggage) during 33 visits by 19 ships.

Outlook for 2004-05 season

Mr Harvey says cruising continues to grow globally. The popularity of cruising is reflected in the Auckland market with more cruise ships and visits expected for the 2004-05 cruise season.

20 cruise ships and 35 visits were already booked for the full season. So far, this is one vessel and two ship calls up on the full 2003-04 season.

Winter cruising continues its upward trend with seven ex-Auckland cruises by the P&O Pacific Sky planned over the winter months in 2005.

Among the first time callers to Auckland will be the P&O Princess cruise liner Sapphire Princess, a bigger sister ship to the largest cruise ship to call at New Zealand so far, the Star Princess, and Crystal Cruises’ brand new “glamour ship” Crystal Serenity. Another maiden caller, Renaissance Cruises’ Delphin Renaissance, will be spending three days in Auckland during March 2005. Cunard Line’s iconic QEII will be visiting Auckland again, as will a number of regular five and six star callers.

Mr Currie says that cruising in New Zealand and the South Pacific regions is growing because of the increasing demand to see new destinations. In response to this, P&O Cruises will operate four ships within the Australasian region from three bases – Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane.

“Dedicated Australasian cruise bases will help the New Zealand industry. P&O Cruises and others can see the value in having ships cruise from New Zealand and Australia to the Pacific Islands,” Mr Harvey said.

Positive economic impact

Mr Harvey said that yet another successful season shows the importance of the cruise industry to Auckland’s city and regional economy.

The direct spend by the cruise ship industry in Auckland for the entire 2003-04 season is estimated to be $43 million and to sustain 570 full time equivalent jobs (FTEs), according to a report by Market Economics.

“Besides their shore excursions and hotels, passengers spend about $150 each for every day they are in port. This is very beneficial to the local shops and hospitality industry,” said Mr Harvey.

Final figures on the direct spend by the cruise ship industry in New Zealand for the 2003-04 season will be available later in the year.

ENDS

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