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.

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  1. A good boost to Auckland tourism and economy, while also being a fantastic sight when they are docked right in the CBD.

    However, they do result in Queens Wharf being locked away from the public. There needs to be some thought as to how the two can co-exist and it would seem the best way is for ships to dock a another wharf (CCW?) and let Queens Wharf be an open space (which would also mean moving The Slug)

    1. I know they gate off the eastern side of Queens Wharf, but I’ve never seen the whole thing “locked away from the public” before. Is that a new thing? I thought the plan was to turn Shed 10 into a customs area for cruise passengers – what happened to that?

      I know it got a lot of slack in the beginning, but I think The Cloud is a great public space as it is. Great for special exhibitions and when there’s nothing going on, I’ve seen people inside playing table tennis and other stuff. The urban beach that they had there a few weeks ago was great for a place to chill out for a couple of hours.

      In any case I don’t think Captain Cook Wharf is big enough for some of these mother ships, it would likely need to be extended to fit them.

  2. Would the income (fees) POA receive from the visiting cruise ships be enough to pay for a proper upgrade to the wharf facilities where the ships now regularly dock? A more passenger-oriented arrival-departure building would be far better than the cargo sheds that are there now surely.

  3. Time to move the containers to Tauranga and the cars to Whangarei (reopening the Northern Line and electrifying to Hamilton and Tauranga). Leaving Auckland with more public space and room for cruise ships/tourism.

    1. I agree, in the 1970’s I worked for Burroughs and the dream was that computers would free up work to the point we would share jobs or be payed to stay at home and live the good life, that part came true it’s called the dole, the rest was the opposite of what we expected, now we have husband and wife out at work and not being able to afford a house. we seem to be going backwards.

      I just saw this
      self drive technology retrofitted to existing cars, depending on the cost this could change the face of driving and do even more out of jobs.

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