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CentrePort is managing the challenge of continued growth, despite continued restricted infrastructure as a result of the 2016 earthquake – the port is expecting a record number of 123 cruise visits over the 2019/20 season

Record cruise season forecast for 2019/2020

The first week of October marked the beginning of a record-breaking summer cruise season, according to the New Zealand Cruise Association.

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While cruise ships sail from New Zealand ports every month of the year, the first week of October – when the Maasdam and Majestic Princess arrived in Fiordland – marked the beginning of a season which will see more port visits and passengers than ever before. New Zealand ports and regions expect to welcome 1071 port calls and 370,000 cruise passengers during 2019/2020. 

Information from Statistics NZ shows the cruise sector spend was worth almost $570 million to the New Zealand tourism economy last season, a 28% increase on the previous year, and New Zealand Cruise Association CEO Kevin O’Sullivan is forecasting a further increase in value this season based on the increasing port calls and passenger numbers.

“Despite a general softening across the industry, growth is still strong across the cruise sector,” says Mr O’Sullivan. “It’s fantastic to have the data proving the strength and positive economic impact of the New Zealand cruise sector, and to see further growth ahead is reassuring.”

Managing the challenge of continued growth

New Zealand port companies are gearing up for the bumper season, with most expecting to break previous records of port calls by cruise ships. Wellington’s CentrePort is expecting 123 cruise visits over a season that will stretch through to April next year, topping last year’s record number of visits of 110 and bringing more than quarter of a million tourists to the city.

CentrePort chief executive Derek Nind says the port company is managing the challenge of the continued growth, despite continued restricted infrastructure as a result of the 2016 earthquake. “Our cruise team have done a great job to gear up for another big season. CentrePort is working hard on options to enhance the onshore experience for cruise passengers in the future.”


WellingtonNZ chief executive Lance Walker says six ships will be making their maiden voyage to Wellington, including the Hong Kong-based Explorer Dream which has the capacity for 2800 passengers plus crew. “This is an exciting time for Wellington as it embraces an influx of Chinese cruise ship passengers, a market that is tipped to have significant growth in the coming years.”


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