Voyager of the Seas is due to visit Dunedin this summer.
Larger cruise ships will bring a record 230,000
passengers and crew into Dunedin this season.
The 2012-13 season, which begins with the arrival of the
Sea Princess on October 14, is expected to bring 88
ships with up to 161,261 passengers and 69,631 crew on board.
Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said it would be
another record season, up from 83 port visits last year.
Ships were about 23% bigger and average passenger numbers
were up 36% per vessel when compared with the previous
The port company could easily handle the longest vessel
(317m) expected this season, and had conducted simulation
trials to ensure large vessels could navigate safely through
This season would bring a dozen "double-up days". One would
bring more than 7000 visitors to the city, the equivalent of
18 full Boeing 747-400s.
Mr Brown said this season a marquee would be sited on the
wharf, offering Wi-Fi and visitor information, and would
"provide a slightly more upmarket waiting area for
Cruise ship visits were an increasingly valuable part of the
port company's commercial operation, and for the greater
Dunedin economy, he said.
"It is business as usual for us, but it is business that we
enjoy seeing at the port, and that is good for the whole
Tourism Dunedin and the Dunedin City Council established ties
more than a year ago to help Port Otago prepare the city for
each cruise-ship season.
Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said the city
was geographically blessed to be either the first or last New
Zealand stop for passengers, and was the second most visited
centre after Auckland.
Many passengers said they treated a cruise as a way of
initially sampling a country before returning later to
explore in depth.
The cruise industry was the fastest-growing travel sector in
the world and appeared to be affecting other sectors, such as
Craig Harris, of Cruise New Zealand, said one highlight of
the 2012-13 season would be the arrival of the largest ship
in terms of passenger numbers, Voyager of the Seas.
The vessel, with 3100 passengers and 1100 crew, is scheduled
to make its maiden voyage to Dunedin on November 17, and is
due to visit the city a further five times.
Another large vessel, Celebrity Solstice, and its 2800
passengers and 1200 crew, will make its maiden Dunedin voyage
on December 15, and is expected to visit a further six times.
"You are getting in bigger ships, and some reasonably
exciting things happening now."
Interest was growing in the Asia-Pacific region. The Panama
Canal had been widened and was expected to take larger
vessels for the 2015 season, so further growth was
"Expect more of these larger ships. The cruise lines are
indicating to us we might get vessels of 3500 [passengers] in
2015-16. It is all starting to happen."
Dunedin rated highly. Passengers travelling with the
industry's two major cruise brands, Carnival and Royal
Caribbean, scored Dunedin between 85% and 90%.
"Most places would be very happy with that," Mr Harris said.