Cruise ships are often a feature of the Auckland waterfront these days, and we’re well into the 2015-2016 season (summer is the busiest time, although these days the season seems to stretch out to June). The ships we see in Auckland are mainly in the range of 1,000 to 1,500 guest cabins. By comparison, Auckland’s largest hotel (the Rendezvous) has 450 rooms, and there are about 9,000 hotel rooms across the whole city.
As such, cruise ships give a pretty big boost to the number of people in town, even if it’s only for a day or two. The ships also have a large number of crew – usually one crew member per guest cabin or a little less – although many of them have to stay on board during stops at port. As reported in the Herald, the biggest cruise ship visiting this season carries almost 5,200 passengers and crew, and there will be even larger ones in the next season.
Pic caption: The Golden Princess, taken 29/11/2015. 1,318 guest cabins, and from the front vaguely reminiscent of the helmet Princess Leia wears when she’s disguised as a bounty hunter.
Despite their size, cruise ships are actually a pretty small part of New Zealand tourism. In the last year, 3 million tourists flew into NZ, compared to around 200,000 cruise ship passengers sailing in. However, cruises have been one of the fastest growing tourism segments over the last decade, although numbers have been quite flat for the last three years.
Of course, Will Smith has a song for this too.