Cruise ship better late than never

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014

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Another cruise ship has graced Timaru waters.

The Seabourn Odyssey arrived in port yesterday about four hours later than anticipated due to thick fog.

However, it was a case of "better late than never". The same ship never managed its planned visit on February 5 due to more adverse weather at sea.

This time, about 450 passengers made the journey to the port of Timaru, where they departed the ship to take in some of the district's sights and activities.

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism (ADBT) chief executive Wendy Smith said although the ship was slightly late, some planned tours still went ahead including the Timaru and Geraldine Town and Country Tour and the Te Ana Maori Rock Art tour.

Visitors also made the most of the town's shopping and cafe scene, she said.

"And interestingly, the most commonly asked question is 'Where can we get free wi-fi?'. ADBT and [Timaru IT company] Vetta are thrilled that our new service is being appreciated and helping to promote the town," she said.

The cruise ship visit was expected to pour thousands of dollars into the district, but the exact figure was not yet known.

"It is difficult to estimate the value to the district and unfortunately there was [the] late berthing ...

"However, Cruise NZ, in their independent study, estimated the district's cruise industry as holding a value of $700,000 for the four cruise ship visits."

The next cruise ship planning to visit Timaru is the Europa on December 29. The Seabourn Odyssey is to return on December 30.

The ship's most recent passengers were farewelled in style yesterday, thanks to the Mountainview High School's jazz band, which performed for 45 minutes from 4pm.

Music teacher Brent Duncan said it acted as a busking arrangement for the students, who will go on tour later in the year.

And their efforts were paying off, he said, as the group finished their performance.

"We've got about 10 currencies in our busking bag," he said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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