Carnival celebrates bumper cruise season for New Zealand

The last ship to visit New Zealand this season for Carnival Australia – the biggest cruise liner company in Australasia – will be docked at Auckland’s Princes Wharf on Sunday.

Sea Princess will be the last of almost 400 Carnival ship visits to 12 New Zealand ports this season – more than double the number of visits than the previous season for the company and almost five times more than three years ago.

The season for Carnival brought more than 115,000 passengers to New Zealand from October to April and contributed an estimated $200 million to our country’s tourism economy.

Each ship visit has generated an estimated $150,000 spend on local New Zealand products, including 30 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables, 600kg flour, local dairy, meat and seafood.

Passengers have enjoyed on average 600 bottles of wine daily, including New Zealand favourites such as Cloudy Bay, Matua Valley, The Sisters and Mount Riley.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which represents P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Princess Cruises, and P&O Cruises World Cruising in New Zealand, said our country was in the midst of a cruising “boom”.

“New Zealand and Australia are the fastest growing and most exciting cruise markets in the world,” said Ms Sherry. “New Zealand is not only an extremely attractive destination for our international cruise passengers, particularly those from the Northern Hemisphere, but more Kiwis than ever before are discovering cruise holidays.

“The Pacific Islands are proving a very popular playground, and being able to explore several different island countries and have your food, accommodation and entertainment included is obviously an appealing option.”

Ms Sherry said the continued growth of cruise ship visits to New Zealand and of cruising in general in this country provided many opportunities.

“As well as the obvious economic benefits from things such as port fees and providoring, tourism operators and local businesses have seen a constant stream of ships over the summer months and I am delighted they took full advantage of this captive audience and showed our passengers what their local areas are all about.”

Highlights of the 2011/12 cruise season for Carnival and New Zealand included:


  • Twenty Carnival ship visits brought more than 35,000 passengers to the Bay of Islands.
  • Paihia ran a successful Ambassador Programme with the support of local businesses, greeting passengers and providing them with local information.
  • The vibrancy of the town centre was enhanced during ship visits with markets and street entertainment.

Bay of Plenty

  • The Port of Tauranga received 50 Carnival ship visits this season, equating to more than 93,000 passengers and an increase of 61 per cent on last season.
  • There was strong local support for ship visits, with families watching the ships sail out of port, crowds at the port gates trying to get up close and locals chatting to passengers.
  • Tourism Bay of Plenty had up to 18 staff working at the port on ship visit days.
  • Local retailers supported ship visits by offering specials and the ability for passengers to pay in foreign currencies.

Hawke’s Bay

  • More than 40 Carnival ships visited Napier this season (80,000+ passengers).
  • Hawke’s Bay demonstrated some fantastic local engagement activities for ship departures, with a special art deco farewell put on for each one that included vintage cars, people dressed up on the port, and a brass band playing live music.


  • The capital received 54 visits from Carnival ships this season – an increase of 69 per cent from last season.
  • More than 95,000 passengers had the opportunity to explore the city and surrounding region, injecting more than $13 million into the city’s economy.
  • Across Cook Strait, Picton saw 10 Carnival ship visits this season – up from just one last season.


  • Fifty Carnival ships visited Dunedin, bringing more than 90,000 passengers to the city.
  • Fifty-eight more ships than last year took in scenic Fiordland as part of their itineraries.
  • Stewart Island’s Oban (pop: 400) received its maiden, and three subsequent, visits.


  • Akaroa stepped up as the default port for Lyttleton and received around 50 Carnival ship visits, equating to 90,000+ passengers.


  • Auckland had 54 visits from Carnival ships for the season, bringing more than 100,000 passengers into the city.
  • Research showed an impressive average passenger satisfaction rating for the city of 84.7 per cent.


Looking ahead to next season

  • Next year will see another increase in Carnival cruise ship visits to New Zealand, with around 440 visits planned.
  • All three Cunard liners will visit New Zealand shores during the 2012/13 season. Flagship liner Queen Mary 2 will complete her first 12-night Royal Circumnavigation of New Zealand in March, calling into the Bay of Islands, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch (maiden call) and Milford Sound. In February, sister ship Queen Victoria will visit Auckland and the Bay of Islands and the fleet’s youngest liner Queen Elizabeth will visit Auckland, Napier, Wellington and Christchurch.
  • The first Spirit class or “fun ship” for Carnival Cruise Lines (Carnival Spirit) sails to New Zealand from its new full-time home of Australia, making more than 20 port calls throughout New Zealand during the season.