Counting the Cost of Delayed Cruise Infrastructure
“Cruise New Zealand is disappointed to learn that the new build ship planned for P&O Cruises Australia will not go ahead,” says Executive Officer Kevin O’Sullivan.
The new ship was the first ship planned specifically for the Australia and New Zealand cruise market and would have been capable of carrying 4200 passengers. The good news is that P&O will still bring the 3000 passenger Carnival Splendor to Australia and New Zealand in 2019, but it has cited a lack of infrastructure progress in the region as one of the reasons for deferring the build of a bigger ship.
Mr O’Sullivan says that slow progress in building berths for larger cruise ships in Auckland, as well as even slower decision making to provide a cruise ship berth in Lyttelton, is hampering the growth of the cruise ship industry in New Zealand.
The largest cruise ship to visit New Zealand, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Ovation of the Seas, arrives in Auckland on 27 December, but is too long to berth in Auckland. It will have to anchor in the harbour with passengers ferried on tenders to the Viaduct area.
The tender arrangements for Auckland were going well, but Royal Caribbean has said it is disappointed the ship wouldn’t be able to tie up alongside Queens Wharf this summer and the next.
It had hoped a mooring dolphin to enable berthing the new generation of larger cruise ships, off the end of Queens Wharf, would be in place next summer, but a consent application for the structure has been delayed, and it is now uncertain when the dolphin will be in place.
The Ovation will call into Dunedin, but bypass Canterbury steaming straight to Wellington because there are no berths in Lyttelton.
“We have huge opportunities to continue to grow cruise tourism and we are missing out because of delays in providing infrastructure. The decision by P&O is a wakeup call that we must get our act together to improve cruise infrastructure if we are to continue to enjoy the benefits that cruise tourism brings.”
“Auckland must provide a berth for larger cruise ships urgently, and Lyttelton should proceed with bringing cruise ships back, to ensure Canterbury does not miss out on this large tourism market.”
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