Passengers taking cruise breaks in New Zealand are expected to hit record numbers over the 2015/16 season, with industry forecasts showing a 33 per cent leap in the number of passengers travelling from NZ.
According to industry body, Cruise New Zealand, 267,800 passengers are expected to sail from New Zealand ports over the coming summer season and beyond – a total increase of a third compared to the previous year.
The port of Auckland has emerged as a key player in New Zealand’s cruise boom, attracting a handful of luxury cruise lines who provide major economic value in port towns throughout the South Island.
This passenger increase is excellent news for the country’s cruise industry, which had suffered in recent years as a result of the damaging earthquakes of 2011. Cruise tourism had until this point proved relatively slow throughout New Zealand, particularly in ports worst hit by the quakes, including Lyttleton, Canterbury and Christchurch.
As a direct result of the increased passenger numbers, New Zealand is expected to generate $543 million from its cruise tourism sector alone – enough to support over 10,000 jobs.
Raewyn Tan, general manager of Cruise New Zealand, said: “The country is on the cusp of record growth. The newt two season will break all New Zealand cruise records and this upward trend is expected to continue over the longer term. The strength of Australia as a source market of cruise passengers as well as New Zealand’s potential to attract the ships during China’s winter are influencing factors.”
During the 2015/16 season, five new ships will sail in New Zealand waters, including Royal Caribbean’s sister vessels, Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, which are thought to be the biggest cruise ships to ever port in the country.
As well as this, Princess Cruises’ luxury ship, Golden Princess, is expected to sail from New Zealand on a number of occasions – increasing the line’s Australia/New Zealand fleet to a total of five ships.
If you’re interested in booking a cruise break in New Zealand, visit our dedicated page or call the Cruise1st Australia team on 1300 857 345.
Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons Credit: Roderick Eime