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Pacific Explorer first cruise ship back to New Zealand since shutdown

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Pacific Explorer, the first international cruise ship to arrive in Auckland since 2020, received a typical Maori welcome on Friday
P&O Cruises Australia’s flagship Pacific Explorer received a traditional Maori welcome when she berthed at Queens Wharf in Auckland Friday.

The 2,000-passenger Pacific Explorer, on a 12-night round cruise from Sydney to New Zealand and Fiji, is the first international cruise ship to arrive since New Zealand’s borders fully reopened on July 31 after being closed since March 2020.

NZCA conference

Her arrival highlights the annual conference of the New Zealand Cruise Association which will be held in Auckland on August 18 after being postponed for the last two years.

‘This is an exciting day for P&O and an exciting day for cruising,’ Marguerite Fitzgerald, president of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, said.

Fitzgerald said Pacific Explorer will return to Auckland in 2023 for a homeported cruise season.

Rebuilding industry

Joel Katz, MD of Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, said the New Zealand cruise community can now begin rebuilding an industry that was previously worth almost NZ$570m a year to the New Zealand economy.

‘New Zealand has now joined the rest of the world in a careful resumption of cruise operations,’ Katz said. 

‘We now have an opportunity to revive a sector that previously supported many thousands of jobs in communities around the New Zealand coast.’ 

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