Another record cruise season kicks off

25 September 2019

Local businesses and tour operators can look forward to a boost over the coming months, courtesy of a strong cruise season for 2019/2020.

The arrival of Napier-regular Maasdam this weekend kicks off another record cruise season for Hawke’s Bay.

Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson says that the port has a record 87 cruise ships scheduled to call this season, up from 70 last season.

“We’ll be welcoming up to 135,000 cruise passengers to Napier between October and April, which is an increase of around 20% on the passenger count last season. Our cruise industry continues to experience robust growth, and we’re hitting new records year on year.”

The 2019-2020 cruise season promises to be a major boost for the Hawke’s Bay economy, with passengers and crew expected to spend a total of $32 million.

Worldwide cruise tourism has grown in popularity over recent years, particularly the Southern Hemisphere routes, and Napier is set to continue to benefit as a gateway to the Hawke’s Bay region for the growing number of cruise ships visiting New Zealand.

Hawke’s Bay Tourism CEO Hamish Saxton says the significance of the each ship visit is such that they can be considered a visitor ‘event’ for the region.

“A great many businesses throughout Hawke’s Bay benefit from the dispersal of not only the passengers participating in tourism experiences, but also some of the crew whose on-shore activities often mirror those of locals – running errands in the city.”

“There’s also research suggesting as many as a quarter of passengers with positive on-shore experiences, like we consistently offer in Napier, will consider returning to the region as an independent traveller in the future.”

Napier i-Site Manager Jane Libby is well-placed to appreciate all the preparation and hard work that goes into each and every cruise ship visit.

Jane said, “We have been busy getting ready for the start of the new cruise season, meeting and planning with tour and transport operators, retail outlets and other key stakeholders. The cruise season in Napier is now a well-oiled machine, and we look forward to showcasing our beautiful region to this season’s visitors.”

Napier Port’s Capability and Cruise Manager Bruce Lochhead remarked that Napier has been regularly voted the best port of call in New Zealand by cruise ship passengers.

Bruce said, “We are always looking to improve the passenger experience at the port and this season we are excited to roll out a number of initiatives, including the introduction of a new cruise customer service team.”

“We also make a real point of working closely with our partners, including Hawke’s Bay Tourism, Napier i-SITE Visitor Centre, tour operators and local businesses, so that together we can offer a high quality end-to-end experience for those visiting our region via cruise ship.”

Notes to editors

  • The 220 metre long Maasdam is scheduled to arrive at Napier Port on Saturday, carrying up to 1258 passengers and 580 crew. This will be the first of her four visits to Napier this season.
  • Four cruise ships are making their maiden calls to Napier this season: Ruby Princess, Viking Sun, MSC Magnifica – the first MSC Cruises vessel to call to New Zealand, and Explorer Dream – the first vessel from Hong Kong based Genting Cruises to call to New Zealand.
  • Cruise ships receive a special welcome at Napier Port, with a display of vintage cars courtesy of the Hawke’s Bay Vintage Car Club, and volunteers dressed in Art Deco finery.
  • On departure, passengers are farewelled by the sounds of the Twin City Stompers.
  • The Statistics New Zealand report on cruise expenditure can be found here:
  • Cruise passengers spent $28,406,000 in Hawke’s Bay in the year to June 2019, according to Statistics New Zealand
  • The Napier Port 6 Wharf expansion project due to commence later this year will relieve some of the congestion at Napier Port which currently constrains our ability to service the growing demand for cruise ships. Upon completion, 6 Wharf will enable the Port to handle two cruise ships simultaneously at the height of the season.

About Napier Port

Napier Port is New Zealand’s fourth largest port by container volume. We are the main gateway for Hawke’s Bay exports and operate a long-term regional infrastructure asset that supports the regional economy. Our strategic purpose is to collaborate with the people and organisations that have a stake in helping our region grow.

For more information

Chris Lonergan
Communications Advisor

Phone: (06) 833 4368