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Spectacular cruise ship season gets under way

Tuesday 24 October 2006

Spectacular cruise ship season gets under way

The 2006/07 Auckland cruise ship season opens on a spectacular note today with the arrival of The World, a floating luxury apartment building.

But the biggest buzz of the cruise season will surround the arrival in Auckland on February 17, 2007, of the Queen Mary 2 - easily the largest ship ever to visit New Zealand.

The World and the Queen Mary 2 are two of 21 cruise ships that will make a total of 48 calls at the port of Auckland during the season – the same number as the record-setting 48 visits by 20 ships during the 2005/06 season, which represented a 50% increase on 2004/05.

“Last season Ports of Auckland handled 48 cruise ship visits and exceeded 100,000 passengers for the first time,” said Wayne Mills, Manager Marine Services for Ports of Auckland, which operates the Overseas Passenger Terminal on Princes Wharf and processes cruise ship passengers and their baggage.

“This season we expect similar volumes at the port resulting in the creation of almost 800 full time equivalent jobs and $46 million GDP value-added benefit for our city.”

The World, which bills itself as “the world’s first ocean-going resort”, comprises 110 privately-owned luxury apartments and an additional 88 guest suites. The 43,000 gross tonnes vessel is owned by its residents, who have a home with a constantly-changing ocean view as The World travels to more than 100 countries.

The World was last here during the America’s Cup regatta in 2003, spending two weeks intermittently at her berth on the western side of Princes Wharf in between sorties out onto the Waitemata Harbour to give passengers a close-up view of the final series of match races between Team New Zealand and the Swiss syndicate’s yacht Alinghi.

This time she will spend three days in Auckland, giving passengers time to explore the city and region or go further afield on tours to other tourist destinations.

The Queen Mary 2 was built in 2004 and this will be her maiden call at Auckland. At 148,528 gross tonnes and 345m length overall she is the equivalent of three-and-a-half football fields. That’s 50m longer than the QE II which calls six days earlier, on February 11. Both vessels are flag ships of the Cunard fleet.

The current record holder as the biggest cruise ship to visit Auckland is the Sapphire Princess. At 290m length overall and 116,000 gross tonnes, she is 55m shorter than the Queen Mary 2 and 32,528 gross tonnes smaller. This season she will be calling five times between January and April 2007.

At the other end of the scale, the boutique vessel Oceanic Princess carries only 60 passengers. She will make four conservation-focused cruises around the New Zealand coast, having gained DoC’s permission to visit areas of native flora and fauna.


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