Travel students get onboard experience
Christchurch tourism students are more likely to cruise into jobs thanks to new hands-on experience onboard the Dawn Princess superliner.
For the first time the Princess Cruises ship is playing host to 18 Christchurch Polytechnic students completing a one-year travel course.
The course includes a cruise component in response to New Zealand's growing cruise industry.
Industry body Cruise New Zealand said the sector had doubled during the past five years, bringing in excess of 200,000 passengers in the 2013-2014 season.
Christchurch Polytechnic travel course organiser Tracey Coulthard said while Christchurch's travel industry was growing, no ships pulled in at Lyttelton Port since the quake.
Ships came in at Akaroa and in the past students were unable to board the ships for hands-on experience.
Many of the students would become agents, selling cruise holidays and it was important for them to experience the product firsthand.
In the past Coulthard had taken students out on the water by jet boat to see the cruise ships up close, without boarding.
While in the North Island the students also travelled the Bay of Islands, Auckland and learned about what happened behind the scenes.
Student Sian McCormick said she did not realise how much work went on behind the scenes until she saw it first-hand.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old student Rebecca Hastings said seeing how hard the staff worked made her want to work in the industry even more.
Christchurch Polytech student Katelyn Crafts, who had secured a job at a travel agency when she finished study later this year, said it was good to experience the product she would be selling.
The onboard experience had opened her eyes to the different career possibilities in the cruise industry, Crafts said.
While this was the first time the Australian-based Princess Cruises had taken students onboard for training purposes, there was potential for the training to become a regular thing.
The students boarded the Dawn Princess at Auckland on its first trip to New Zealand for the summer season.
Princess Cruises was New Zealand's largest cruise company, with 242 trips to New Zealand this summer across six ships.