Sea Princess' arrival marks start of another busy cruise season

14 October 2013

The arrival of the Sea Princess into Akaroa Harbour on Wednesday (16 October) will mark the start of another busy cruise season for the Banks Peninsula township. 

The Sea Princess is the first of 74 cruise port calls into Akaroa over the next few months in what promises to be another positive summer for local businesses and tourism operators.

Akaroa has been the main port of call for cruise ships visiting Canterbury since the earthquakes.

“If Akaroa had not embraced the challenge, cruise lines would have bypassed the region altogether,’’ says Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism industry partnerships manager, Caroline Blanchfield. 

“Fortunately Akaroa has coped brilliantly and passenger satisfaction levels have been exceeded. Surveys that we did during the last cruise season show the cruise ship passengers visiting Akaroa are helping lift business confidence and are fuelling interest in Canterbury as a destination,’’ Ms Blanchfield says.

In all 92 cruise ships will visit Canterbury ports over the coming months. In addition to the 74 cruise ship visits to Akaroa, nine cruise ships will call into Kaikoura, six to Lyttelton and three to Timaru.

Nationally it is estimated that cruise ship passengers and crew will add $311 million to New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product this season and account for 5361 jobs.

The number of people arriving in New Zealand on cruise ships is comparable to the number of Britons – New Zealand’s third largest visitor market – arriving here.

“Cruising is very popular and we’re thrilled that despite the damage to the facilities at the Port of Lyttelton we’ve still been able to welcome thousands of cruise ship passengers to our region,’’ Ms Blanchfield says.

“They’ve been able to get a taste of what makes this corner of the world so special and hopefully they’ll come back for a longer visit. The surveys we’ve done certainly suggest many intend doing just that.’’