Molly Moller is given a packed lunch from yesterday's
cancelled cruise ship trip with the Taieri Gorge Railway.
The 87-year-old is flanked by Montecillo Veterans Home and
Hospital registered nurse Jackie Matheson and Ironic Cafe
and Bar owner Steve Wilson. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A record number of cancellations so early in the cruise
ship season has left Dunedin businesses counting the cost.
Strong winds at Taiaroa Head prevented Pacific Dawn and its
2050 passengers and 900 crew from arriving at Port Chalmers
from Milford Sound yesterday morning.
The city could expect one or two cancellations in a season,
"but to get three is highly unusual", Dunedin City Council
business development visitor industry adviser Sophie Barker
"We just hope it is the last one."
Ms Barker said those in the visitor industry were emailed
about the cancellation, but it was hoped a text alert system
would be introduced soon.
Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said the wind was
strong in the morning and forecast to strengthen later in the
day, so the captain made the decision to cancel in
conjunction with Port Otago pilots.
"It was the master's final call so we are really in their
Cruise ship captains took into account the size of their
vessel and the prevailing weather conditions on the day, and
"there was no cut-off level above which or below which things
Up to 88 cruise ship visits were scheduled for Dunedin this
season, but to date three had cancelled, including Sun
Princess on November 2, and Sea Princess on October 14.
Passengers for all three vessels totalled 5950, while crew
Taieri Gorge Railway chief executive Murray Bond said the
latest cancellation was "extremely disappointing, but
understandable given the conditions".
The three cancelled vessels had the largest number of paying
passengers scheduled to ride on the train , and the impact
could be measured in six figures.
"We have lost tens of thousands of dollars, it is impossible
to get that back.
"Already a few months into the financial year and it will be
a particularly bad year for Taieri Gorge Railway."
Catered meals from the cancelled trip were donated to several
local groups, including Montecillo Veterans Home and
Larnach Castle marketing manager Deborah Price said the
cancellation was "disappointing but that is how it is; safety
first and we understand that".
The notice came early enough to contact staff, and make
alternative arrangements for catering.