Christmas Day cruise ship passengers well catered for

Cruise ship passengers in Dunedin on Christmas Day should have enough to keep them busy.

The Dunedin City Council yesterday released a list of tour operators, retailers, restaurants and cafes opening with an eye to serving the 1950 passengers and 830 crew of the ship Dawn Princess.

It will be the first time the city has had a cruise-ship visit on Christmas Day.

Taieri Gorge Railway, Penguin Place, Monarch Wildlife Cruises, Larnach Castle, Headfirst Travel, Eden Sea Kayaking Tours and Back to Nature Tours are among the operators, while the Dunedin Visitor Centre will be open to help.

The range of souvenir and gift shops includes Baldwin Street Tourist Shop, Mulberry Lane, Seriously Twisted and Posh Designs.

Restaurants and cafes opening include Chrome, Circadian Rhythm, Kingsgate Hotel and Huntsman Steakhouse.

Monarch Wildlife Cruises Ltd owner John Milburn said "three or four" staff members had volunteered to work Christmas Day, and without them the business would not be opening.

Given the penal rates and day-in-lieu for staff, he was not sure the day would be profitable, but said he was opening as a service because cruise ships were important to Dunedin's economy.

Along with the cruise, two bus tours would run in Dunedin on Christmas Day, and also "preliminary interest" had been shown by some Dunedin residents, demand from whom would probably depend on the weather, he said.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said many operators and businesses were open to serve the cruise-ship passengers.

A few businesses opted not to open, but he did not think that was an issue.

For operators such as Taieri Gorge Railway, forward bookings gave surety of business for the day, but not all businesses could be assured of custom.

Quite a few passengers might seek out churches to attend services, he said.

Dawn Princess is due at 7am on Christmas Day and expected to sail at 6pm.

Sun Princess, with another 1950 passengers, is scheduled to arrive on Boxing Day at 7am.


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