Wellington, the busiest port in New Zealand, expects over 200,000 guests during the 2023/2024 summer cruise season due to strong economic development in 2023 and the approaching peak of the Australian and New Zealand cruise season. This is a sign of the region’s increasing popularity as a cruise destination and an opportunity for the industry.
As the cruise industry enters its second season after the challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Wellington is ready for an influx of over 200,000 visitors.
Royal Caribbean International’s magnificent Quantum-class flagship, Ovation of the Seas, made its debut season call at Wellington’s Centerport on 31 October 2023, which coincides with Halloween. The Royal Princess was supposed to arrive first, on 8 November, but will instead come later in November.
This arrival kicks off the Southern Hemisphere cruise season, at least for Wellington. Last year, the first ship to visit Wellington was the Ovation of the Seas, which can carry 6,400 passengers.
Ovation of the Seas arrived at Wellington from French Polynesia. The ship left Wellington for the Bay of Islands before finally docking in Sydney on 3 November. From Sydney, the ship will depart on cruises of varying durations until about mid-April 2024.
“We are the busiest port in New Zealand by ship movements when you include the ferry operations,” Anthony Delaney, CentrePort’s Chief Executive, remarked. “Fortunately, the additional cruise ships in the harbour don’t affect our efficiency, nor our capacity to get goods to and from the market, a key element in supporting New Zealand’s economy.”
Ovation of the Seas has rerouted to Wellington due to bad weather in Auckland, making this port call the first of 106 between October 2023 and April 2024. The cruise industry in the area is showing signs of growth. In 2022, 89 cruise ship calls were logged at CentrePort (some were cancelled due to weather).
The final ship on the itinerary for Wellington this season is Princess Cruises’ Royal-class Majestic Princess, with a guest capacity of 4,900. This cruise, scheduled to arrive at CentrePort on 15 April 2024, marks the end of what looks to be an excellent cruising season in New Zealand.
As New Zealand’s busiest port, CentrePort has also declared excellent financial results for the fiscal year ending 30 June 2023. The port revealed an impressive underlying net profit after tax of $11.9 million, marking a substantial 48% surge from the previous year’s $8 million.
“The port’s achievements across the last 12 months are a testament to the work the port and its people have done to increase efficiency and capacity,” Delaney pointed out.
CentrePort can now claim greater capacity, helping New Zealand’s supply chain and tourism growth, owing to higher earnings and an intentional emphasis on energy transformation to reduce emissions.
As an example of Ovation of the Seas docking this season, CentrePort’s expanded capacity also enables it to accommodate ships that face challenges docking in Auckland and other ports across the country.
By building a maritime MicroGrid energy system in addition to a shore power grid, CentrePort is taking significant steps towards environmental sustainability. With the help of MicroGrid technology, ships in port may be more productive and environmentally friendly.
These environmentally friendly measures will lessen the port’s reliance on nonrenewable energy sources and encourage parked vessels to turn off their engines to decrease noise and pollution. Midway through 2024, solar panel arrays will be installed to improve CentrePort’s environmentally friendly infrastructure further.
Whanganui and Marlborough, two inland hubs, strengthen CentrePort’s effect on the supply chain. Shippers benefit from the adaptability these nodes offer, increasing efficiency and convenience.
In addition to its recent financial achievements, CentrePort has also been recognised as the most efficient container port in both New Zealand and Australia for two years running, according to the World Bank CPPI index.
The prospects for CentrePort’s future in terms of cargo handling, revenue growth, and its welcoming reception of cruise ships and guests are excellent.