New ships, new records for Wellington cruise season

4 October 2019

Media Release

Another record-breaking Wellington cruise ship season launches this week with several vessels making their first visit to CentrePort.

When the Dutch ship Maasdam docks at CentrePort this Friday (4 October) she will be the first of 123 cruise visits over a season that will stretch through to April next year.

That tops last year’s record number of visits of 110.

More than quarter of a million tourists will arrive in Wellington, accompanied by a further 100,000 crew.

CentrePort Chief Executive Derek Nind says CentrePort is managing the challenge of the continued growth despite continued restricted infrastructure as a result of the 2016 earthquake.

“Our cruise team has 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,” said Nind.

WellingtonNZ Chief Executive Lance Walker says six ships will be making their maiden voyage to Wellington including the Hong Kong-based Explorer Dream with capacity for 2,800 passengers plus crew. The ship will visit Wellington on seven separate occasions. Each time, around half its passengers will be Chinese.

“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.

“Earlier this year WellingtonNZ invited Wellington tourism operators and retailers to a workshop to explain how to get China-ready through the adoption of Chinese payment systems such Alipay and WeChat Pay.”

Mr Walker says Wellington is well-prepared for the 350,000-plus visitors who are worth more than $56 million to the regional economy.

“The city’s remodelled i-SITE, outside the Michael Fowler Centre, has been very popular since reopening in early September with nearly 5,500 people so far going through its doors.

“We expect the i-SITE to be a focal point for cruise ship passengers as they look for interesting and fun things to do while in the Wellington region. We will also have our fantastic band of 150 Volunteer Cruise Ambassadors out on the streets come rain or shine to provide a friendly welcome and advice to our cruise ship guests.”

2019/20 CentrePort cruise season statistics

Number of cruise ship visits: 123
Number of passengers visiting Wellington: 250,000
Number of crew on visiting ships: 103,000
Largest ship: Ovation of the Seas (348m length, 6,400 passengers and crew)