The Port of Auckland in New Zealand has predicted that it will handle more cruise passengers than ever before this season.
Since the start of Auckland’s summer season, which began in late 2014 and ends in early 2015, 35 cruise ships have visited the port. This include Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas, which made her record-breaking maiden call with 3,800 passengers on 13 December 2014. The ship returned to Princes Wharf in the first week of January carrying the same number of visitors.
During the season, the port expects to receive an average of one or two cruise ship visits per week, with each vessel carrying 2,360 passengers and 731 crew, marking a 10,000-person increase from last year.
Three ships are also set to make maiden calls this season, while one cruise line will visit Auckland for the first time. In addition, there will be five days where the port will host three ships simultaneously.
“Large passenger discharges such as these present a myriad of potential challenges, particularly in terms of getting passengers off the vessel and through terminal facilities under immense time pressure,” said Leigh Robins, manager of POAL’s marine and cruise operations. “Our team creates easily navigated channels, which passengers can flow through and still meet the on-wharf passenger processing requirements. It involves extensive planning, initiative and flexibility to ensure operations run efficiently.”
Unlike many other international ports, the vessels dock at Princes and Queens Wharves on the city’s revitalised waterfront, facilitating spend on local tourist attractions and in the central business district retail hub.
This season, the value-added benefit to the Auckland economy is projected to reach NZ$1.8 million per cruise ship, supporting nearly 2,700 jobs.
“Auckland receives significant GDP return from the provisioning and refuelling of cruise ships, and money spent by passengers and crew during exchanges,” said Brett O’Riley, chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development. “More than 257,000 passengers and crew are expected to visit this season.”
In 2014, Auckland hosted more than 195,000 passengers and crew during 88 visits from 34 cruise ships.