Wellington Scoop

First cruise ship of the season arrives; 90 more expected, with 170,000 tourists

News from Positively Wellington Tourism
The arrival of the 2,500 guest capacity Radiance of the Seas has today kicked off what will be another record breaking cruise season bringing approximately 91 cruise ships and over 170,000 passengers to the region.

The cruise season, which runs until the beginning of March, is expected to inject $35 million dollars into the local economy.

PWT General Manager Marketing Sarah Meikle applauded the work done by the city’s tour operators and attractions to meet the cruise market’s unique needs.

“By offering the right tours at the right times, businesses such as Wellington Rover Tours and Hammonds Scenic Tours are really making the most of the opportunity this continuously expanding sector offers.”

She says the company will continue to facilitate shuttle services for cruise lines without their own services and has also increased the number of Wellington City Ambassadors this season.

“Our army of volunteers helps visitors get the most out of their Wellington experience. Their knowledge and love of all things Wellington ensure visitors have a great time while docked in the coolest little capital in the world.”

Ann Sherry, CEO of the region’s largest cruise company, Carnival Australia, which operates a combined fleet of cruise ships including P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line, says “cruise passengers in increasing numbers are choosing to see New Zealand by ship and a visit to Wellington is always a very popular part of any New Zealand cruise itinerary.

“Along with Australia and the Pacific Islands, New Zealand is at the heart of the world’s fastest growing cruise market.”

She says “beautiful destinations in New Zealand are fundamental to the growth of cruising in recent years attracting cruise ships based in the region as well as international cruise ships on world voyages.”

Cruise ship numbers into Wellington have increased 57% in the last five years.

Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT)

PWT is the regional tourism organisation for Wellington. It is a council-controlled organisation primarily funded by Wellington City Council through the Downtown Levy, a targeted rate paid by commercial ratepayers in downtown Wellington.

Wellington Tourism statistics

• Visitors spend over $2600 in the Wellington region per minute – $1.4 billion every year. (Source: Ministry of Economic Development Regional Tourism Data).

• Over four million visits are made to Wellington every year: 750,000 international and over 3.4 million domestic. (Source: Ministry of Economic Development Regional Tourism Data).

News from Centreport
A record-breaking summer cruise season has begun, bringing 91 cruise ships and more than 225,000 international visitors to Wellington. The first ship arrives on Monday – the Radiance of the Seas, with 2,500 passengers and crew.

The cruise season runs from October until the beginning of March and will inject around $35m and nearly 230 jobs into the local economy.

CentrePort has worked closely with Positively Wellington Tourism to increase international visitor numbers. The partnership has been extremely successful, with a 315% increase in visitor numbers since 2005.

CentrePort Chief Executive Blair O’Keeffe said that the company was pleased with the steady growth in passenger numbers.

“We’ve been working with PWT to position Wellington as the ‘coolest little cruise capital’ and now it’s paying off. We’re expecting 45,000 more visitors from cruise ships this year, and that will have a very positive effect on the local economy.”

This year CentrePort refurbished its cruise terminal and added a new cruise berth, which will keep passenger processing times to a minimum and give visitors a very positive first impression of Wellington. The company has also purchased the new tug Tapuhi, so that it can bring much larger cruise liners into the port next season

The largest cruise liner to visit Wellington this season will be the Voyager of the Seas, which will bring more than 3,100 visitors. The giant liner is 310 metres long and has four swimming pools, an ice-skating rink, a Las Vegas-style casino and 15 bars and restaurants.

Last season saw the arrival of 83 cruise ships to the port, which brought about 180,000 passengers and $30 million dollars to the region.


  1. Paul Vandenberg, 19. November 2012, 17:39

    Fantastic seeing these huge ships, but seriously, have you seen the micky mouse set up for transferring passengers to and from town?
    As a logging truck driver who uses the port daily, and having these visitors use the same entrance and drive almost through where we unload and load our trailers is second world, we should have a grander entrance that is far better than what they are using, not only that it’s like they have grabbed any spare bus, none are the same. Second rate effort for these outstanding looking ships…

  2. traveller, 19. November 2012, 20:06

    You wouldn’t believe it, but the city council spent $4m “improving” the entrance to the city for cruise ship passengers. You are right – Wellington should offer a better berth for the ships and their wealthy travellers. A more central one too. Queens Wharf would be perfect but there seem to be excuses about why it has to stay empty.