Unexpected guests for Picton

The Dawn Princess in Picton harbour
The Dawn Princess in Picton harbour

An unscheduled visit by a cruise ship that anchored near the entrance of the Picton harbour saw hundreds of passengers being shuttled ashore by boat for the first time in 10 years.

Ports of Marlborough general manager operations Carmen Gimpl said the Dawn Princess was diverted from Fiordland due to bad weather and had anchored in the Picton harbour tendering passengers in by small boats.

It was the second time a cruise ship had been diverted to Picton because of bad weather since October and the first time in just over 10 years that passengers had been tendered in, she said.

Another cruise ship, the Seabourn Odyssey, was berthed at Waitohi Wharf.

Many of the cruise ship passengers made the most of a half-day excursion, creating a buzz in the town centre while taking in the sun and scenery.

Destination Marlborough trade development manager Jane Little was on board the Seabourn Odyssey informing passengers of attractions in the area. She later joined marketing communication manager Jason Henry to greet and advise passengers off the Dawn Princess at the arrival point on the Picton foreshore.

About 2000 people were aboard the Dawn Princess, and around 400 people on the Seabourn Odyssey. There were "streams" of people tendered ashore all morning interested in such attractions as wineries, walking tracks and Greenshell mussels, Mr Henry said.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said the proportion of people who left the cruise ships for an excursion was largely weather dependent.

"Fortunately, it's a fantastic day, and that bodes well for Marlborough. Picton will be a buzzing hive of activity [yesterday] with all the extra people off the cruise ships in town."

Mrs Johnston was pleased Picton had a reputation as a cruise ship port. "It means that the passengers on board, those that choose to, get off the ship and spend some time in Marlborough and hopefully spend a holiday in Marlborough in the future."


Four cruise ships were expected to berth at Waitohi Wharf in Picton over the first three days of this week, according to the Ports of Marlborough website.

Monday: Seven Seas Voyagers

Tuesday: Seabourn Odyssey; Dawn Princess

Wednesday: Orion

The Marlborough Express