Taranaki will receive an influx of international visitors later this summer with two cruise ships set to visit the region in the space of 10 days.
Port Taranaki is looking forward to welcoming second-time visitor Maasdam on Saturday, 25 January, followed by new arrival Azamara Journey on Wednesday, 5 February.
The Maasdam will dock at Port Taranaki at 8am, having sailed direct from Norfolk Island, and depart for Nelson at 5pm. Operated by Holland America Line, the 219m long Maasdam can carry 1258 passengers and 580 crew, making it one of the largest cruise ships to have visited the region.
As well as Taranaki, its voyage will take in Sydney, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Norfolk Island, and the east and west coasts of the North and South islands.
Azamara Journey, a boutique cruise ship, will arrive at Port Taranaki from Nelson at 8am on Wednesday, 5 February and depart at 8pm the same day, heading for Auckland. The ship is operated by Royal Caribbean and, at 181m long, can accommodate 694 passengers and 407 crew.
The ship’s voyage begins at Papeete in Tahiti, and includes stops at Bora Bora and Rarotonga, before arriving in New Zealand.
Port Taranaki head of commercial Ross Dingle said it was fantastic to have a vessel the size of the Maasdam make a return visit, and to have a new cruise ship call in to Taranaki and experience what the region has to offer.
“The Maasdam was here last December, and a number of the visitors commented on the warm welcome they received at the port, in town and around the region. They are the moments that visitors remember and it helps cruise lines determine their itineraries for future voyages – if their customers enjoy their visit they are more likely to return,” Mr Dingle said.
“The Azamara Journey is a new vessel for the port and region. This cruise offers passengers the opportunity to get closer to the history and culture of the cities and countries that it visits, so it fits in nicely with what Taranaki offers in terms of our natural and cultural attributes.”
Port Taranaki is a member of the New Zealand Cruise Association, and Mr Dingle recently attended the annual conference.
“What came through strongly from the cruise companies is that they are constantly looking for new destinations and to work alongside the local communities to provide meaningful experiences for their passengers.
“There is also the emergence of the expedition class vessels, which are much smaller, can park offshore and give passengers the chance to be more active, such as diving, boating, or maybe having a BBQ on the shore.
“At Port Taranaki we have the infrastructure to accommodate all types of vessels, and the region has the facilities and places of interest to cater for all types of cruise preferences,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming the visitors to Taranaki next year, and we’ll continue to work alongside Venture Taranaki and tour companies to bring more cruise ships here, and offer experiences that make the operators and visitors want to return.”
Mr Dingle said, at this stage, three cruise ships were scheduled to visit Taranaki in the 2020-21 season, including the 294m Queen Elizabeth, the largest cruise ship to ever visit Taranaki.