Australians ahoy this cruise season

John Christie.
John Christie.
Australians are expected to dominate the cruise-ship season.

Cruise New Zealand predicted half of all cruise-ship passengers in New Zealand would be Australian.

The first cruise ship due to arrive in Dunedin is Sea Princess on October 16.

Nationwide, 121 cruises are expected to deliver 200,000 passengers and 78,000 crew members to New Zealand ports between October and May next year. The season is forecast to add $311 million to the country's gross domestic product and account for 5361 jobs.

Passengers will be on shore for about 1.1 million days.

The proportion of Americans among all passengers is expected to increase from 17% to about 19%.

Cruise New Zealand said ports nationwide scored well above average on passenger satisfaction ratings and the desire to continue to strive higher was commendable.

The organisation encouraged retailers to target cruise-ship passengers and crew members with special offers, ''value adds'' and welcome signs.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said Dunedin tourism operators and retailers were improving year on year in respect of getting the most out of the cruise season, but more could be done.

''It's very good for a lot of our tourist attractions, but from a retail perspective it could be better.

"Often, we are the first or last port so passengers have either already bought stuff or they are waiting to buy stuff, and we need to encourage retail spend here and offer cruise visitors opportunities to spend,'' he said.

''We've got a number of agencies getting together on a regular basis to look at what improvements need to be made.''

Communication between all involved in the cruise industry had improved, and an email system warned people at the earliest opportunity of cancellations.

''A lot of businesses put on extra staff in anticipation of cruise visitors coming into the city, so good communication is key,'' Mr Christie said.

Overall, the cruise season was worth a ''substantial'' amount of money to Dunedin and the wider Otago economy, he said.

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