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Auckland wins ‘Best Cruise Destination’

Auckland wins ‘Best Cruise Destination’ in Readers' Choice Awards

The 2670-passenger Diamond Princess visits Auckland in 2016

Photo credit: Loic Venance

Auckland has won the ‘Best Australia / New Zealand Cruise Destination’ category in the 2019 Porthole Cruise Readers' Choice Awards.

Award winners were determined by thousands of readers and online fans of Porthole Cruise, a leading cruise consumer magazine known for its sophisticated content and high-end brands with an emphasis on luxury travel.

Bill Panoff, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Porthole Cruise says: “I always look forward to seeing the results of our Readers’ Choice Awards because our readers are discerning travellers who have stunningly high standards for every part of the cruise experience.

"For Auckland to be voted the ‘Best Australia/New Zealand Cruise Destination’ in the 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards speaks volumes about Auckland’s unique allure for experienced cruisers, the gracious hospitality of New Zealanders, and the absolutely stunning natural beauty of the area."

Kevin O’Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Cruise Association says: “Despite all that is happening downtown with our biggest city, in a major transition phase, the warmth and friendliness of our people and the range of options available to cruise passengers has seen Auckland voted Number One in Australia and New Zealand. So how good will it be in future when the work is complete? Well done Auckland.”

New Zealand's popularity as a cruise destination has skyrocketed in the past few years. If cruise passengers were a country, it would rank third behind China as a source of international visitors for New Zealand, with Auckland being the main port-of-call.

More ships are heading to Auckland, and more cruise lines are beginning to add New Zealand to their itineraries, such as Dream Cruises, whose boat Explorer Dream will visit our shores for the first time this December.

The Destination AKL 2025 strategy, released in 2018 by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), forecasted 171 cruise ship visits by Auckland 2025. Due to New Zealand’s increasing popularity, the 2020-2021 season will almost meet this prediction, with 163 visits already scheduled.

Auckland is also beginning to host larger cruise ships more often. Later next month, the 3080-passenger Ruby Princess will anchor in Auckland for the first time and will be joined on the same day by the 3560-passenger Majestic Princess. With the significant changeover of passengers for both ships, Auckland will host a record 15,000 passengers in the city that day.

ATEED General Manager – Destination, Steve Armitage, says that increase in the number of cruise ships heading this way is great value for Auckland, but the challenge has always been to convince passengers to stay in the region longer. The region is often viewed as a stopover before or after a cruise.

“Winning this award shows that passengers are starting to see Auckland as a fantastic destination in its own right and not just a gateway to and from New Zealand.

“We offer the best of two worlds – an urban oasis of world-class restaurants and unique art and culture; and a natural playground of native forests and island getaways. Auckland is a paradise that deserves attention,” says Steve Armitage.

“The cruise industry is an important high-yield market for us, which significantly contributes to our visitor economy. Many passengers can make the most of Auckland’s emerging luxury sector and we are proud that they are vouching for our region as a high-end destination.”


• To view all 2019 Porthole Cruise Readers' Choice Awards winners, visit

• Porthole Cruise Magazine reaches 2.29 million people annually through its various channels.

Tourism New Zealand reported that cruise ship passengers, as a country, would rank third behind China for international visitors to New Zealand.

Destination AKL 2025 Strategy was initiated by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), Auckland’s economic development agency, and guided by an Industry Leaders Group spanning the breadth of Auckland’s visitor economy. The strategy provides a new direction for Auckland's visitor economy.

• Please visit the Princess Cruises website for more details on Ruby Princess and Majestic Princess, which arrive on 27 December.

Dream Cruises are coming to New Zealand for the first time on 11 December, starting with a visit to Fiordland. Explorer Dream will arrive in Auckland on 15 December.

• To view Auckland’s cruise ship schedule, please visit


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