New Zealand’s growing cruise industry is set for a huge boost with P&O Cruises today announcing its biggest ever season of cruises from Auckland, in a move expected to inject close to $20 million into the local economy.
The cruise line said it would extend its scheduled 2016 winter season to a record 20 cruises following the addition of two more cruise ships to its existing three-ship fleet late next year.
The cruise line’s popular Pacific Pearl – named in Auckland in 2010 by Olympian Barbara Kendall – will now be based in the city from early February to June 2016 offering a wide range of itineraries over 18 roundtrip cruises and two voyages between Sydney and Auckland
“New Zealanders have shown a passion for cruising, with record passenger numbers and a 23 per cent growth rate in 2013 which surpassed the performance of the booming Australian cruise market,” said P&O Cruises CEO Ann Sherry.
“P&O Cruises is very excited that the expansion of our fleet means we can significantly increase capacity in the New Zealand market, offering a wider choice of itineraries to holidaymakers and an even bigger economic return to the country,” Ms Sherry said.
The new program will bring additional benefits to cities around New Zealand with a special 10-night circumnavigation of New Zealand calling at Napier, Wellington, Christchurch (Akaroa), Stewart Island and Picton and enjoying scenic cruising through Fiordland.
Turnaround cruise ship visits are estimated to deliver close to $1 million to the local economy in passenger accommodation, dining, transport and shopping as well as crew expenditure, supplies and port charges. Meanwhile visits to regional cities can contribute up to $500,000 in passenger and crew spending.
Other features of the 2016 New Zealand cruise program, on sale from August 19, include:
- An expanded P&OSeaBreaks program introducing more three and four-night sailings, including four-night cruises visiting Bay of Islands and Napier
- A new eight-night Fiji cruise visiting Suva, Port Denarau and Dravuni Island
- A new 15-night Fiji, Tonga and Cook Islands cruise visiting popular ports in the region.
Cruise fares start from NZ$599* per person quad share for a four-night P&OSeaBreak and NZ$1049* per person quad share for the eight-night Fiji cruise.
Hon Todd McClay, Associate Minister of Tourism, said the announcement was a major vote of confidence in New Zealand as a cruise ship destination.
“The cruise industry is an extremely valuable part of our tourism market contributing an estimated $310 million to the economy in 2012-13. During the 2012-13 season more than 211,000 passengers and 82,000 crew visited New Zealand on 129 separate cruises,” Mr McClay said.
In addition to greater capacity and choice of cruise holiday options, P&O Cruises’ expanded cruise program will mean more opportunities for New Zealand food and beverage suppliers catering for an increased number of Auckland turnarounds.
Ms Sherry said the cruise line was pleased that New Zealand will increasingly benefit from the long value chain of cruising as it continues to grow as a result of P&O Cruises’ expansion.