Media Release: A welcome return as cruise sails back to Hawke’s Bay
More than 130,000 cruise visitors expected during record season
Hawke’s Bay is anticipating its biggest cruise season ever with more than 130,000 cruise visitors expected to call at Napier Port between November 2023 and April 2024.
Today’s arrival of the boutique National Geographic Orion marks the beginning of the season with the first large ship – the Grand Princess, carrying 3100 passengers and 1100 crew members – calling at Napier Port a week later.
Demand for Hawke’s Bay as a destination signals a record season for cruise tourism, with 92 cruise calls booked, including 18 double days (two cruise vessels in port at the same time) and two triple days.
There are a number of maiden calls to Napier, including Virgin Cruise’s new Resilient Lady (277m) and the Celebrity Edge (306m) with its unique Magic Carpet floating platform. The final ship currently booked to visit Hawke’s Bay is the Carnival Splendor, carrying up to 3012 passengers, on 5 April 2024.
Cruise visitors are expected to provide a significant boost to the local economy with the New Zealand Cruise Association estimating the curtailed 2019/20 cruise season being worth roughly $30 million to the region.
Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson says that Napier Port is excited to welcome back cruise ships this month and again see visitors deliver a timely economic boost to the region.
“Cruise tourism was able to bring immediate support into our region and in particular to local businesses in Napier during the post-cyclone recovery period. As we head into the summer holiday period a similar level of economic support will be much welcomed by retailers, hospitality, and tourism operators.”
“On port, this will be our first season berthing cruise vessels on our newest wharf – Te Whiti (6 Wharf). Designed as a multi-purpose wharf, Te Whiti is capable of berthing the largest cruise vessels coming to New Zealand, including the Oasis-class liners (such as Icon of the Seas), as well as container and bulk cargo vessels. We expect to berth approximately 20 cruise vessels on Te Whiti this season. Napier Port is now able to berth cruise vessels on five of our six wharves – 2, 3, 4, 5 and Te Whiti – providing greater flexibility and availability for cruise lines.”
Hawke’s Bay Tourism CEO Hamish Saxton says all those involved with the cruise sector are excited for the season ahead.
“It is with great anticipation that we look forward to welcoming the first cruise ship to Hawke’s Bay and what we expect to be a record season. We saw the immense value that cruise can deliver earlier this year, when vessels returned following Cyclone Gabrielle and brought vibrance, vitality and visitation back to the region, along with much-needed commerce.
“Cruise is always the cream on the top of the regular tourism season because it delivers significant visitation through a short number of days. We see these days akin to events – given the numbers of people in region during a contracted period – and the opportunity to showcase the region to visitors who may come back again, either by cruise or another form of travel.”
“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 who’s on-shore activities often mirror those of locals – running errands in the city.”
Napier i-SITE Manager Jane Libby is well-placed to appreciate the extensive preparation and hard work that goes into each and every cruise ship visit saying, “We are very excited about the return of cruise ships and have completed all our preparations with tour operators, retail outlets and other key stakeholders. We will enthusiastically welcome cruise ship passengers into Napier and Hawke’s Bay, and showcase what the region has to offer. We hope that passengers will love the little taster they get and come back another time, to stay a little longer and experience more of what Hawke’s Bay has to offer.”
Napier City Business Inc General Manager Pip Thompson echoed these sentiments on behalf of Napier CBD’s retailers saying, “Our retailers, cafés and hospitality venues are excited to invite cruise visitors back into the city again. We’re hopeful of a classic Hawke’s Bay summer season and visitors with open wallets.”
For media enquiries:
Chris Lonergan, Communications Manager, Napier Port
M: 027 255 0486
Media and Public Relations Manager, Hawke’s Bay Tourism
T: 021 254 0923
- The 103-metre-long National Geographic Orion is scheduled to arrive at Napier Port on Tuesday, November 14, carrying up to 138 passengers and 75 crew.
- The cruise schedule for Hawke’s Bay can be found here: https://www.napierport.co.nz/quick-links/cruise-schedule/
- The Statistics New Zealand report on cruise expenditure can be found here: https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/cruise-ship-traveller-and-expenditure-statistics-year-ended-june-2020/
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