Cruising returns to New Zealand after nearly three years

Cruising returns to New Zealand after nearly three years

P&O Cruises flagship Pacific Explorer sailed into Waitemata Harbour, Auckland last week becoming the first cruise ship to return to New Zealand and marking the restart of cruise tourism for our Kiwi neighbours.

The ship’s arrival is part of a South Pacific cruise from Sydney on a 12-night round-trip that also ventures to Fiji.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) managing director for Australasia Joel Katz said the New Zealand cruise community could now begin rebuilding an industry that was previously worth almost $570 million a year to the country’s economy.

“New Zealand has now joined the rest of the world in a careful resumption of cruise operations,” Katz said.

“We now have an opportunity to revive a sector that previously supported many thousands of jobs in communities right around the New Zealand coast.”

Auckland mayor Phil Goff echoed Katz’s sentiment, saying it will be great for Auckland to have tourists and international visitors back in the city.

“The lockdowns and border closures, while necessary to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, have had a significant impact on businesses throughout Auckland, particularly in the city centre,” Goff said.

Guests also received a traditional Māori welcome after berthing at Queen’s Wharf.

President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald thanked the Ardern Government for enabling cruising to be a part of New Zealand’s move to reconnect with the world following the challenges of the pandemic.

Pacific Explorer’s arrival in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland today is a signal that cruise tourism is poised to make a significant contribution to the restoration of the tourism economy,” Fitzgerald said.

“Looking further afield to the reopening of maritime borders in other parts of the Pacific, it is entirely appropriate that Pacific Explorer is on an itinerary that includes calls in Fiji.

“We are looking forward to our ships also being able to return to beautiful destinations in New Caledonia and Vanuatu and to the progressive return to New Zealand ports of ships from our other cruise lines as the tourism sector continues to rebuild.”

Fitzgerald said P&O was already planning for Pacific Explorer’s return to Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland in 2023 for its first homeported cruise season in three years.

Pacific Explorer is the first ship to visit as part of a gradual resumption of operations in New Zealand that will continue with visits by other vessels in the spring and summer.

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