More cruise ships confirmed for 2023-2024 season

25 October 2023

Six more cruise ships have been confirmed for Timaru this summer, bringing the total to date to 18, the largest number ever seen in the district.

News of the extra visits has happened this week, as the cruise lines confirmed their itineraries.

Norwegian Spirit will visit on 8, 24 Jan, 25 Feb, 12, 20 March.  The ship has a capacity to carry up to 2000 passengers, so slightly larger than the Noordam, which made its first visits last year, with capacity of 1900. On 18 March, Resilient Lady will visit, carrying up to 2200 passengers.

“We’re expecting we could have up to 12,000 more visitors as a result of the visits by these two ships, which is pretty substantial, so we are now gearing up to cope with this extra influx,” said Nigel Davenport, chief executive of Venture Timaru.

“We’ve been in discussions with PrimePort Timaru about the reality of handling this many cruise ships, and while from the port point of view there’s been plenty of work done in the background, we want to make sure things are well planned for when the visitors come into the CBD and the wider district, so that the community continue to welcome and support the cruise sector,” he said.

Following the 2022-2023 season, Venture Timaru commissioned an economic impact report by Infometrics, to gauge the economic benefit for the district.  It also surveyed the local community and tourism operators to assess feelings about the cruise visitors.

The surveys came back overwhelmingly positive about cruise visits with most keen to see more ships coming.  In terms of the economic benefit, it was estimated that cruise visits to Timaru generated approximately $2.8m into the local economy last season. Initial figures were that it was expected to generate $3.7m based on 12 ships this season, but with 12,000 extra passengers coming that figure could grow to up to $6.6m based on 77 percent occupancy.

Venture Timaru has held a public meeting in Timaru this month for the local community to learn about the cruise visits and have the chance to ask questions, and a second public meeting will be held in Geraldine on 8 November at 5.30pm in the Mundell’s Complex.

“Our tourism team is in constant contact with our tourism operators who will be offering a variety of activities for the visitors, plus we’re also doing as much as we can to keep the CBD community informed,” said Davenport.

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