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Record capital cruise ship season

23 Apr 2019

More ships, more visitors and more money for the Wellington and regional economy have marked a record cruise ship season that finishes up Easter Monday.

The arrival of the Radiance of the Seas, which was the first ship of the 2018/19 season to berth back in October, registers the 110th visit of the season.

That beats the previous record of 90 cruise ship visits set in 2012/13.

CentrePort Limited CEO Derek Nind is proud of the way the port tackled the logistical challenge that included berthing two cruise vessels on a single day on 24 occasions.

“Significant planning, efficient processes and the hard work of our CentrePort team supported by our partners including WREDA meant we were able to handle the busiest cruise ship season in the city’s history.

“From our pilots and tug boat crews, lines teams through to the cruise team – they all did a great job.  Given the port is still managing the impacts of the 2016 earthquake including reduced berth capacity, it has been a remarkable effort,” said Nind.

Ovation of the Seas
Ovation of the Seas

The Capital welcomed over 300,000 visitors, including 220,000 passengers. The tourists enjoyed exploring the city and the surrounding region, with local businesses and excursion providers benefiting.

Mid-January was the busiest period of the season, with 10 ships visiting in a single week, delivering 17,500 passengers.

Wellington looks set to continue to benefit from the global growth in the cruise industry, with next season to see more than 120 cruise ship visits.

WREDA General Manager David Perks says the 2018/19 cruise season was worth an estimated $56 million to the local economy, helping ensure Wellington enjoyed a wonderful summer of tourism.

“One of WREDA’s most important cruise season functions is making sure visitors are well informed so they can make the most of their time in the city. That’s done through 150 volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors and our iSite staff who have been busier than ever in their cramped MFC-based facility.

“Following the departure of the Radiance of the Seas – which marks the start of the slower winter tourism season – the iSite will close so it can be reconfigured to triple the space for visitors in plenty of time for next summer.

“During the closure, the Department of Conservation has kindly provided space on the ground floor of its Manners St office for WREDA to continue providing its core iSite services,” Mr Perks says.