Artist's impression of MS Oasis at Lyttelton Port Artist's impression of MS Oasis at Lyttelton Port

Chc back in NZ’s cruise game

News Lyttelton is back in the cruise-sector game has been met with sound applause from the industry.
Lyttelton Port Company has released plans for the first custom-built cruise ship facility for Christchurch. The $55 million development will open for the 2019-2020 season.

It will be able to accommodate cruise ships the size of the world’s largest – the 5400-passenger Oasis of the Seas.
Large cruise ships have been bypassing Lyttelton for Akaroa after the port sustained significant earthquake damage during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
News that the port town will again welcome big ships has been described as exciting by Cruise New Zealand executive officer Kevin O’Sullivan.
‘It will bring many more cruise visitors to Canterbury and will help to secure the New Zealand wide cruise industry, as it sends a very clear signal that our country will be investing in cruise, and intends to grow this important segment of the tourism market,’ O’Sullivan says.   
‘The largest ship currently visiting New Zealand, the Ovation of the Seas, will be able to bring around 5000 additional passengers to Canterbury each time, and because of this deployment, specialists will now be able to consider more comprehensive itineraries.’
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean Cruises managing director, Australia & New Zealand Adam Armstrong says the company is looking forward to cruising back to Lyttelton, which it had called on before the earthquakes.
It diverted ships to Akaroa, but this season the town was unable to accommodate Royal Caribbean ships hosting more than 3000 passengers such as Ovation of the Seas.
The Lyttelton berth will make it more convenient and appealing for our guests to explore Christchurch, Armstrong says, and it will also be more convenient for guests to explore the region.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the development is a massive investment in the future of the region. ‘Cruise ships bring a lot of life and economic activity into the city so it is great that Christchurch will have a dedicated facility.’
And Lyttelton Port Company Board Chair Trevor Burt says the berth will future proof Christchurch as a cruise destination for the next few decades.
The cruise ship industry was worth $484 million to the New Zealand economy in the 2015–2016 year and is forecast to grow to $490 million in the 2016–2017 season.
– Lisa Bradley