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Port of Auckland completes summer cruise ship season with sights set on the future

​​The last cruise ship for summer has departed Auckland with 16 new ships making it down under this season 

The Coral Princess departed Queens Wharf on Friday 26th April marking the end of a busy summer season 

The port handled 133 cruise ship visits this summer and welcomed around 330,000 passengers with luxury operators Disney and Virgin entering the market for the first time. The summer cruise season officially started on 1 October and finished at the end of April.
Avinash Murthy, who heads up the port's marine and cruise operations, says this season saw numbers return to pre-Covid levels.

"It has been an exciting and busy season with our cruise team quickly adopting and integrating new procedures along the way," he says.

"It was fantastic to see cruise operators like Disney Wonder call here for the first time, bringing a great fun family vibe to the city centre. The cruise industry has proven to be resilient and we are looking forward to next season."

At least 110 cruise visits are expected into Auckland for the next summer season, with a few ships scheduled over winter.  

Auckland is the country's busiest cruise port and with no signs of the popularity of cruising flagging and bigger ships calling, a key focus for Port of Auckland is improving the visitor experience.     

"Cruise ships are an important contributor to the tourism economy and first impressions start from the moment a ship is tied up," says Avi.

"Providing a smooth seamless transition for passengers from a ship into the city and region is vital for introducing our country and culture to tourists," says Avi. "Improved infrastructure, facilities and processes are all important if we want to make sure Auckland is the destination of choice," says Avi.

Minimising disruption in the Downtown Ferry Basin for Auckland commuters continues to be a focus for the port's cruise team.

"Cruise ships can only arrive or depart Princes Wharf at certain times and there are also restrictions on ferry movements within the Downtown Ferry Basin when cruise movements occur.  While only around 1% of ferries were impacted by cruise operations this season, we're working with the Harbourmaster,  Auckland Transport and ferry operators to see how we can further minimise disruptions for the next summer cruise season."

Ultimately the port's longer-term plan is to move the large cruise ships from Princes Wharf in the Downtown Ferry Basin to a new purpose-built berth on the Northern end of Bledisloe Wharf.