Record-breaking cruise season launches in Akaroa

| Carnival Australia
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Carnival Australia’s cruise season gets underway for Akaroa tomorrow with the arrival of Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess, the first of 426 visits to New Zealand this season.

It will be the busiest cruise season yet for Carnival Australia, with the number of visits topping 400 for the first time.  

The 2012-2013 cruise season is expected to contribute more than $200 million to the national economy, with huge benefits for 12 New Zealand ports including Picton, Timaru and Oban in Stewart Island.

It is estimated that each full ship turn-around, that includes unloading and reloading supplies, will generate on average $1 million in passenger and crew spending, port fees, fuel and provedoring. Each standard port visit will generate an average of $500,000 in spending.

Carnival Australia CEO, Ann Sherry, was in New Zealand this week speaking to tourism operators and industry interest groups about embracing this growth and said the record breaking season ahead shows the vibrant and growing nature of cruising as a travel market in New Zealand.

“New Zealand is right up there when it comes to destinations that appear on the bucket lists of our passengers,” Ms Sherry said. “The unique Kiwi flavour and level of service that local ambassadors, tour operators, business owners and the broader community make New Zealand a place cruise passengers want to return to year after year.

“This year it is particularly impressive to see the efforts of smaller regions throughout New Zealand as they prepare to embrace the thousands of visitors our cruise ships bring each time they visit.”

Dawn Princess will be docked in Auckland on Saturday, before making her way up to Bay of Islands and then on to Sydney as part of a 75-night World Cruise. Two other ships are expected to visit Auckland this month, before the season hits its peak from November through to April 2013.

A special highlight of the upcoming season will be the inaugural Royal Circumnavigation of New Zealand by Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 which will arrive in Bay of Islands on March 10 next year before making her way down the country, stopping at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and cruising into Milford Sound.

This will be Queen Mary 2’s maiden visit to Akaroa, which will again replace Lyttleton as Canterbury’s port – and will be New Zealand’s busiest port this season, with 58 visits from 14 different ships, bringing an estimated $29 million to Christchurch’s tourism economy. Cunard’s other ocean liners, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will also visit in February and March.

Bluff, Timaru and Nelson will debut on the New Zealand cruise circuit this season, with two visits each from Seabourn’s Odyssey, carrying 450 passengers each visit.

A new ship which will sail into New Zealand waters this year is Carnival Spirit, the first ship for Carnival Cruise Lines to be based year-round in Australia. Along with 2100 passengers, the 88,500-tonne Carnival Spirit carries a 22-metre “Green Thunder” water slide, water park, adults only “Serenity” zone, sport court, 16 lounges and bars and a 1170 seat, three-deck high theatre.

The end of the season in April 2013 will also mark the return of New Zealand’s own superliner, P&O Cruises’ Pacific Pearl to Auckland as its home port, where it will be based over the winter season next year. Pacific Pearl’s homecoming will also coincide with the opening of the new cruise ship terminal in a refurbished Shed 10 on Queens Wharf.

Carnival Australia’s 19 ships include P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Sun, Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2; Princess Cruises’ SunPrincess, Dawn Princess, Sea Princess, Diamond Princess, Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess; P&O Cruises World Cruising Oriana, and Auora, Holland America’s Volendam and Zaandam, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Spirit and Seabourn’s Odyssey.

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2012-2013 CRUISE SEASON

 

PORT

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Akaroa

  • First ship call from Sea Princess, 12 October
  • 58 calls including diversions from Lyttleton
  • 14 per cent increase in Carnival Australia visits on last year
  • Akaroa is the busiest port for 2012/2013 and includes a maiden visit from Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 and an additional visit from Queen Elizabeth
  • A cruise brochure with info on both Akaroa and Christchurch city will be available from an information kiosk at Akaroa port, along with other information
  • A free non-stop shuttle service will run all day, transporting people from the top of town in Akaroa to the bottom
  • Volunteer ambassadors greet passengers as they disembark including a fully-themed town crier who will greet the largest ships

 

 

Auckland

  • First ship call from Dawn Princess, 6 October
  • 50 ship calls for Auckland including visits from all three Cunard Queens in February and March 2013
  • 20 per cent increase on last season
  • Pacific Pearl will finish the season by returning to Auckland to be home ported
  • Completion of Shed 10 by April 2013 as a dedicated cruise and events facility for Auckland  
  • Auckland i-SITE Visitor Information staff and a team of WiSE Guide volunteers will greet each cruise ship and provide passengers with a warm welcome and advice and tips about what to do in Auckland. This includes providing visitors with a new Auckland central map and Auckland Visitor Guide
  • Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development’s focus is on developing a unique and exciting visitor welcome for cruise passengers coming to Auckland in the 2013/14 season

 

 

Bay of Islands

  • First ship call from Dawn Princess, 7 October
  • 21 visits from different ships this season
  • Volunteer ambassadors work on every cruise ship day answering passengers questions and directing them as they disembark. Volunteers around town also wear specially marked T-Shirts signalling tourists to ask them any questions
  • A free shuttle bus runs a 3-min journey into Paihia from Waitangi
  • Busking artists perform in Paihia town on every cruise ship day to create some vibrancy and fun in town
  • An arts and craft market is held in Paihia on every cruise ship day selling locally made products
  • A trail of international flags, painted on the ground, leads passengers from the port into town
  • The main road pedestrian crossing is manned by volunteers, helping them get across the road safely

 

 

Bluff

  • First time on the New Zealand cruise circuit
  • 2 visits from Seabourn’s Odyssey on 14 January and 19 February

 

 

Fiordland National Park

  • First ship call from Sea Princess, 14 October
  • 56 visits this season
  • 8 per cent increase on previous season

 

Gisborne

  • 2 visits this year from Seabourne’s Odyssey on 23 January and 10 February

 

Lyttleton

  • All Lyttleton stops this year continue to be diverted to Akaroa

 

Napier

  • First ship call from Sun Princess on 30 October
  • 46 visits this season
  • 4.5 per cent increase on last season
  • Visitors to Napier are met by i-SITE Ambassadors who provide maps and advice. Shuttle buses run from the port to the central city

 

 

Nelson

  • First time on the New Zealand cruise circuit with 2 visits from Seabourn’s Odyssey on 31 January and 2 February

 

 

Oban

  • 2 visits this year from Seabourn Odyssey on 26 January and 6 February
  • Previous season was first time Oban featured on New Zealand cruise circuit

 

 

Picton

  • First ship call from Volendam on 3 December
  • 11 visits
  • 10 per cent increase on last season
  • Picton’s famous flower ladies will greet cruise ship passengers at the port with corsages hand-made from local gardens 
  • Local volunteer to greet passengers at the foreshore as they disembark, answering their questions, giving directions and helping them find the local i-site visitor centre
  • A local arts, crafts and food market is held on the foreshore every day a cruise ship is in port

 

 

Port Chalmers, Dunedin

  • First ship call from Sea Princess on 13 October
  • 54 visits this season
  • 6 per cent increase on last season
  • Dunedin City Council offers an innovative accreditation programme to ensure cruise ship passengers are offered a high level of service during visits

 

 

Tauranga

  • First ship call from Sun Princess on 29 October
  • 53 visits this season
  • 6 per cent increase on last season
  • The Mount Maunganui & District Lioness Club  run the Volunteer Meet and Greet programme for cruise ship visitors to Tauranga

 

 

Timaru

  • 2 visits from Seabourn’s Odyssey on 15 January and 18 February
  • Timaru’s first year on the New Zealand cruise circuit

 

 

Wellington

  • First ship call from Dawn Princess on 30 October
  • 55 visits this season
  • 2 per cent increase
  • Wellington City Ambassadors will greet passengers as they disembark, giving directions, advice and insider knowledge about the city
  • Wellington port operator CentrePort has invested significantly in upgrading the Aotea Quay Cruise Terminal this year to cope with rising numbers of cruise ships visits
  • The number of cruise ship visits to Wellington has more than doubled in the last five years

 

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