First post-pandemic summer cruise ship season gets underway

December 30, 2022

The first post-pandemic summer cruise ship season has begun, and passenger numbers are already back to normal levels.

More than 250,000 people are expected to arrive here this summer.

The Cruise Ship Association’s Kelvin O’Sullivan told 1News he had spent Christmas and Boxing Day in Napier when two cruise ships arrived in the city.

“Downtown was just going off, really going crazy,” he said.

Border closures stopped cruise ships from entering New Zealand for more than two years, with many now operating under strict Covid-19 protocols.

"We had to do tests the night before and provide a photo of the RAT," one visitor explained.

"There's testing on board. If you take precautions, it's just like life goes on," another added.

Hundreds of tourists arrived in Auckland today, providing some much-needed relief to businesses as locals leave town for the holidays.

People in the hundreds could also be seen lining up for the ferry to Waiheke Island.

"I'm so excited. I've been told good things about Waiheke. It's a beautiful island," a man said.

O'Sullivan said people "really notice when a cruise ship's in port in downtown Auckland".

"Suddenly, Queen Street is alive again. All around Commercial Bay, all those areas, the cafes – they're just full of people."

The 5000-passenger Ovation of the Seas cruise ship is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow.


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