Cruise ship passengers bring more money to Wellington

Cruising tourists coming to Wellington by luxury ship increased in number this summer and are spending up at local shops, restaurants and cafes.

During the 2012/2013 season, there will be 172,015 cruise ship passengers coming into port, up by a third on last summer.

In the next week alone, the 72-passenger Oceanic Discoverer cruise ship from Cairns, the Sun Princess, Crystal Symphony, P & O Cruises' Pacific Pearl - which takes 1800 passengers - and Voyager Of The Seas are due to visit Wellington.

The total economic benefit to the city, which takes cruise ships only in transit, was up $5 million from $30m last year including shipping agents, provedores and crew spending.

Passenger spending is estimated to be $22.4m, with each seafaring visitor spending around $130 while in the capital for the day, according to figures provided by Positively Wellington Tourism.

Brendan Wallace, waterfront restaurant Shed 5 maitre d', said it had hosted more cruise ship passengers this summer, mostly for lunches.

"They spend about the same as locals would. Because it's lunch time, people don't tend to drink too much. Especially when the weather is really nice they don't want to eat a big meal."

Its five-course set menu banquet lunch, that included a glass of wine, for $35 was the most popular meal with cruise tourists, because of the ease in ordering several courses that have already been decided by the chef.

The owner of Old Bank Arcade footwear boutique I Love Paris, Samara Collins, said she had noticed a rise in the number of shoppers visiting on cruise ships.

"Particularly the Australian passengers, they've been spending, but not the Americans as much. They come in looking for luxury brands, asking where they can get Chanel, Versace, Armani, things like that, but for the Australians our products and style are probably similar to what they've got over there."

Cory Niwa, a retail assistant at New Zealand fashion boutique Moochi on Customhouse Quay, had noticed a lot more tourists in recent weeks.

"We've had a lot of cruise people in over the last couple of weeks but . . . there are a lot of browsers."

The office manager at a Pavilion Restaurant at Peppers resort in Martinborough, Louise Henderson, said there was a rise in the number of cruise passengers stopping for lunch while on a day trip winery tour booked as a shore excursion. "Definitely, we've got a lot more than previous years."

Mojo Coffee had seen an increase in cruise passengers thirsty for caffeine at its 16 Wellington sites, according to marketing manager James O'Connell-Cooper.

"We knew from the forecasts we get from the council there would be more but there are definitely a lot more around and a lot more tours through as well."

The Dominion Post reported in October that cruising was more popular with Australian tourists, who could pick up packages sailing across the Tasman for under $1000, than with European or American travellers on expensive once-in-a-lifetime trips.


2012/2013 season

172,015 cruise passengers

91 cruise ships

$35m total economic impact

2011/2011 season

128,735 cruise passengers

83 cruise ships

$30m total economic impact

Source: Cruise NZ and Positively Wellington Tourism

Contact Jazial Crossley
Wellington business reporter
Twitter: @msbananapeel

The Dominion Post