Black Cat Cruises ready for another busy cruise ship season
ATTN Tourism/business reporters
Cat Cruises ready for another busy cruise ship season
14 October 2013
Leading Canterbury Tourism operator Black Cat Cruises is looking forward to the arrival of the summer season’s first cruise ship on Wednesday which signals the start of another busy cruise season for Akaroa.
“We’re ready and the town is ready,” Black Cat Cruises Managing Director Paul Bingham said. “It’s been a relatively quiet few months without the ships visiting.”
After being delayed a day due to poor weather in the North Island the Sea Princess now arrives on Wednesday and is the first of 74 cruise port calls into Akaroa over the summer that will inject $30 million into the local economy.
“Cruise ships are valuable for Akaroa and the Canterbury region,” Bingham said. “Akaroa has been rated the best port visit in New Zealand which is fantastic as it not only clearly shows what the area has to offer but also means passengers are likely to return to visit and tell more friends and family about the region.”
Akaroa has been the main port of call for cruise ships visiting Canterbury since the earthquakes.
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism industry Partnerships Manager, Caroline Blanchfield said Akaroa has coped very well with hosting cruise ships and that passenger satisfaction levels had been exceeded.
She said that surveys done during the last cruise season showed passengers visiting Akaroa had lifted business confidence and fuelled interest in Canterbury as a destination
Bingham said it was important to be prepared to cope with the busy days when cruise ships are in the town. “Visitors have to be looked after and get the best experience possible,” he said. “We have employed six extra staff for the summer months and invested in refitting our retail shops last year so they were able to manage extra numbers better.”
“Harbour cruising and dolphin swimming are two popular activities for cruise ship passengers who also have the option of day trips to Christchurch or just wandering around Akaroa, taking in the sights, shopping and visiting the museums and cafes.”
There will be 64 days this summer when there will be a cruise ship anchored in Akaroa Harbour that will include 10 days when there will be more than one. Cruise ships have to anchor in the harbour as the ships are too large to dock at main Akaroa Wharf. The wharf celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.
“The large ships look fantastic anchored in the harbour and create a real buzz in the town,” Bingham said. “There’s no doubt they’re good for the town and the region.”