Napier Port Marks 1000th Cruise Ship Visit To Napier As Current Summer Season On Track To Be Busiest Ever

Published: Mon 26 Feb 2024 01:39 PM
Napier Port welcomed the Silver Muse today and marked the 1000th cruise ship visit to Napier since they began calling 30 years ago. After the vessel was safely berthed on 2 Wharf, Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson presented the ship’s captain with a gift to commemorate this significant milestone.
Todd Dawson was excited to celebrate the occasion as the current bumper cruise season continues to set records.
“This cruise season is set to be the port’s busiest yet with 72 cruise visits already and another 17 bookings through to early April. We’ve had more double and triple ship stays than ever before, and also welcomed a number of maiden cruise line calls,” said Dawson.
“That translates to more than 130,000 cruise visitors to Hawke’s Bay, which is a significant and timely boost to the local economy and our region’s ongoing post-cyclone recovery.”
Dawson added, “The recent addition of Te Whiti (6 Wharf) as a multi-purpose berth has boosted the port’s wharf capacity and provides greater operational flexibility for our teams to efficiently manage the different types of cargo vessels regularly calling to Napier. Not only is the port capable of berthing the largest cruise vessels coming to New Zealand, including the Oasis-class liners (such as Icon of the Seas), but we are well-placed to welcome even more cruise ship calls next season.”
Cruise bookings remain healthy over the next couple of years, with Napier and the wider Hawke’s Bay region driving robust demand as a cruise tourism destination.
Former 50-year port employee, local maritime historian and regular cruise ambassador volunteer, Tony des Landes, is uniquely placed when it comes to documenting the rise of cruise tourism to Napier.
Des Landes joined the Silver Muse presentation and said, “I’ve had a front row seat to history you could say – watching the increasing trend of cruise ships to Napier Port over the last 30 years. Not only is Napier Port facilitating the arrival of more cruise ships, the ships are also getting much bigger and in turn bringing with them a growing number of visitors to the region.”
“The boom of the cruise industry over the last couple of seasons has been spectacular, particularly in light of the two-year absence due to the pandemic as well as the disruptions caused by Cyclone Gabrielle last season.”
At 364m, the Ovation of the Seas is the largest vessel of any type to call at Napier Port. The vessel is scheduled to visit Napier Port six times this season, carrying close to 5000 passengers each voyage.
Des Landes also added, “During my time in the IT team at Napier Port, I developed a database of Napier shipping movements in the late 1990’s as a means of preserving older computerised shipping records. As marine systems at the port were upgraded there was a real risk that the older records would eventually be lost, so the database I created was a means of preserving all that valuable information. Over a number of years, records of vessels berthing at both the Breakwater (Napier Port) and Inner Harbours were manually added going all the way back to 1880.”Notes:Modern-day cruise experiences as we know them first began in the 1960s. However, it wasn’t until 1994 that cruise ships started calling to Napier, with the arrival of the Marco Polo (176m) on 24 February making seven visits that first season and returning for nine the following season.In the 30 years since the first cruise visit to Napier Port, a total of 123 different vessels have called to Napier, although 13 of those returned under different names.Passengers, mostly immigrants, were tendered ashore from anchored sailing ships prior to the breakwater harbour opening in the 1890s. Ocean liners became the dominant form of ocean transport in the years following, until the emergence of long-distance aircraft after World War II.

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