When Celebrity Solstice, the region’s highest rated cruise ship*, departs Auckland on 24 April to migrate to warmer climates, she marks the conclusion of an historic cruise season for New Zealand and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
The cruise company brought three lines and an unprecedented seven ships to Australia and New Zealand this season, including superliner Ovation of the Seas, which broke all the records when she arrived at Kiwi shores.
Ovation of the Seas cost USD$1 billion to build, weighing in at 168,666 GRT with capacity for close to 5000 passengers and 1500 crew, making her by far the biggest and most technologically sophisticated cruise ship to ever call this region home.
With 17 visits to ports including Dunedin, Picton, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland and Paihia, the inaugural local season has been declared a major success. The 358m long giant has also been confirmed to return here in December 2017 for a longer season.
Adam Armstrong, Managing Director AU & NZ, says that bringing the largest and most advanced vessel drew new crowds to the market.
“What we have learned is that there is a demand for cruises to New Zealand on a large feature-rich ship like Ovation of the Seas, which has validated our decision to invest in this market. SuperCruising has now emerged as an all new category.”
It was also a record breaking season for the cruise line in terms of overall passengers. More than 300,000 guests sailed on seven ships during the 2016/17 summer cruise season.
A quarter of those guests – around 75,000 - sailed itineraries that visited New Zealand. This injected an estimated $40 million in passenger spend alone into New Zealand’s regional economies.
Australians made up the core demographic of cruisers to New Zealand at 60%, while the other 40% saw a number of nationalities including from the US, Europe, UK, and of course Kiwis themselves.
In addition to Ovation, Royal Caribbean Cruises also brought Radiance of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice, and Azamara Journey for a total of 133 NZ port visits.
Boutique cruise ship Azamara Journey made her maiden voyage to NZ this season bringing its destination focussed style of cruising to our shores, showcasing our beautiful country with the brand’s signature longer stays and more authentic local experiences.
Returning fresh from an all-encompassing makeover, Azamara Journey’s revitalisation saw the addition of new venues and technologies, a beautiful redesign and rework of her suites and staterooms, a complete refresh of all public spaces and pervasive wi-fi throughout.
The region’s favourite and highest rated cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice, celebrated a milestone sailing her fifth consecutive local season, fresh from a stunning makeover. Additions included the first Tiffany & Co store at sea for the region, beautiful cabanas on the famed real grass Lawn Club, and an outdoor movie screen to host her new film and gastronomic experience, “A Taste of Film” for guests.
Royal Caribbean is reminding travellers to book their 2017/18 season cruises early as spaces sell out fast. Simply contact your Mondo Travel specialist for information on forward itineraries!
T: 0800 110 108
submitted by -- Gayle