Second cruise ship of the season brings more tourists to Kaikoura after earthquake

Diggers build a levy around the Kaikoura marina while The Caledonian Sky cruise ship sits in the bay in the background.
JOHN VASTA

Diggers build a levy around the Kaikoura marina while The Caledonian Sky cruise ship sits in the bay in the background.

The cruise ship season is on track for the quake-stricken town of Kaikoura, which has welcomed its second lot of passengers for the summer. 

The Caledonian Sky, which first docked in the harbour on December 27, returned on Monday. 

Kaikoura i-Site manager Mariet van Vierzen said the cruise ship season was continuing as it normally would after December's 7.8-magnitude earthquake.  

The Caledonian Sky in Kaikoura's South Bay.
SUPPLIED

The Caledonian Sky in Kaikoura's South Bay.

Usually between five and eight ships came into Kaikoura's South Bay or North Bay in a season, and five cruise ships were due this summer. 

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Kaikoura Museum manager Stephanie Lange said it was "fantastic" to see the passengers around town after the earthquake, and they gave Kaikoura a feeling of normality. 

Most people coming through recently had been domestic tourists from Christchurch.  

"You know that things are coming right if the [international] tourists are coming back," she said. 

The museum had come through unscathed and was probably the only museum in the world to survive a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, Lange said.  

The cruise ships always had to dock away from shore, as the harbour was not deep enough for them, van Vierzen said. 

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The Caledonian Sky holds 114 passengers and has a crew of 74. 

Often cruise ship passengers went from the ship on a whale-watching or dolphin-watching trip, but some also went straight into town, van Vierzen said. 

The Caledonian Sky was bound for Akaroa on January 17, and would then travel to Dunedin, Stewart Island and Fiordland. 

 - The Marlborough Express

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