Ovation of the Seas still tendering in Auckland is ‘astounding’

Tendering in Auckland is not the preferred option for Ovation of the Seas' almost 6,500 passengers and crew PHOTO: Royal Caribbean

‘The fact that we are still tendering Ovation of the Seas in Auckland during the 2019-20 season remains quite simply astounding,’ Chairman Debbie Summers told the 260 delegates at NZCA 2019.

Summers was referring to Royal Caribbean International’s 168,666gt megaliner which had to drop anchor in Waitemata Harbour when she made her maiden visit to Auckland in December 2016 because at 348 metres she was too big to berth at Queens Wharf.

Although disembarkation by tender is not the cruise line’s preferred option for almost 6,500 passengers and crew, it acknowledges that Auckland is a key destination on New Zealand itineraries and has been forced to anchor in the harbour ever since.

Queens Wharf mooring structures on hold

In April this year plans to build two 15 metre by 15 metre concrete mooring structures fixed to the seabed at Queens Wharf were approved, which would have allowed Ovation of the Seas to berth safely.

However, due to some local opposition these plans have been put on hold and an Environment Court appeal hearing is not due until next March.

Could Lyttelton get Auckland turnarounds?

NZCA’s Founding Chairman Craig Harris said the cruise ship facility that will open in Lyttelton in November 2020 could replace Auckland for turnarounds if the problem is not fixed.

Cruise line partnership for a terminal proposed

Capt. Nikolaos Antalis, associate VP marine & safety for Royal Caribbean International Asia Pacific, suggested that Auckland speak to cruise lines about a partnership to build a new cruise terminal.

Despite the Queens Wharf setback, Summers said the cruise industry continues to grow.

‘We have surpassed that magical 1,000 port call bookings for the 2019-20 season, with a record 370,000-plus cruise ship visitors and the recent announcement by Stats NZ that since 2015 cruise spend nation-wide is up 84%,’ she said.

Footnote: Summers paid tribute to Alison O’Sullivan, NZCA’s CEO Kevin O’Sullivan’s wife of more than 40 years who took the minutes at board meetings until her recent death.


Posted 25 August 2019

© Copyright 2019 Seatrade Informa Markets. Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade Informa Markets.

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Helen Hutcheon

Author Bio ▼

Australasia correspondent Helen Hutcheon did her cadetship on a shipping magazine and worked in P&O’s Sydney office for seven years as a public relations journalist. For 19 years she was deputy editor of Travel Week, which was Australia’s leading trade newspaper that covered major local and international industry events. In 2008 the late legendary Rama Rebbapragada presented her with an award from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd ‘in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the cruising industry.’ In 2010 she won the Neil Frazer Award for ‘outstanding contribution to the cruise industry,’ elevating her to CLIA Australasia’s hall of fame. She has been the Australasia correspondent for Seatrade Cruise Review since 1997 and for Seatrade Insider (now Seatrade Cruise News) since its launch in 2000.

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