Voyager of the Seas prepares to dock at Port Chalmers on
Saturday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Dunedin's tourism sector coped well with the biggest
cruise ship to visit New Zealand, when Voyager of the Seas
docked at Port Chalmers on Saturday.
About 3100 passengers and 1200 crew were on board the ship,
which was the biggest in the world when it was launched in
Slideshow: Voyager of the Seas
Dunedin Visitor Centre manager Louise van de Vlierd said the
influx of passengers to Dunedin attractions posed no
problems, and transporting them was smooth. The wet day was
unfortunate, but everyone seemed happy with their visit, she
Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said extra staff
were rostered on for the visit, and he was pleased with the
There was no evidence poor weather deterred passengers
leaving the ship, he said.
The Otago Daily Times was shown around the Royal Caribbean
International mega-ship on Saturday, and spoke to some crew
Captain Charles Teige, of Norway, who likens his role to that
of a town mayor, said he was constantly aware of the huge
responsibility of running the huge vessel.
Dunedin was the first of six New Zealand ports of call. It
sailed around Milford Sound on its way to Dunedin, which
reminded Capt Teige of the fiords in his home country -
although without the human settlement.
Features on the ship, which is 311m at its highest point,
include an ice-skating rink, shopping boulevard, three-level
dining room, and a rock-climbing wall.
Hotel director, former Dunedin resident Colin Clarke, said
Saturday's weather was "very reminiscent" of his childhood in
the city about 40 years ago.
His job was ensuring the ship's passengers were cared for,
which was little different from the many years he spent in
the hotel trade before joining the cruise-ship industry five
If the ship was a hotel, it would be the largest in
Australasia, he said.
Crew members came from more than 50 countries, and their
diversity was an asset because of the many cultures on board
A seven-strong medical team assisted passengers with
ailments, and could perform minor surgery and X-rays.
Food and beverage director Tusitala Sola said provisioning
the ship was a major challenge, but he worked out amounts of
food and drink by studying the demographics of passengers
before a cruise.
The kitchen had to deal with many requests, and demand for
gluten and lactose-free food was increasing, particularly
from Australian passengers.
Mr Sola said the crew particularly enjoyed serving Australian
and New Zealand passengers, as they were the most friendly.
Originally from Auckland, now resident in Adelaide, Mr Sola
said he looked forward to disembarking to find some "decent
fish and chips" in Dunedin.
Voyager of the Seas visits Dunedin several times this season,
including three stops next month.