Growing tourism opportunities for Taranaki anticipated from more cruise liner visits
The Dutch-registered Maasdam berthed at Port Taranaki on Thursday for a one-day visit throughout a bi weekly voyage around New Zealand.
Cruise ship visits to Taranaki provides more tourism opportunities to market the region from the growing industry, a tourism leader says.
The Dutch-registered Maasdam berthed at Port Taranaki on Thursday for a one-day visit throughout a two-week voyage around New Zealand.
At 220m long it really is one of the primary cruise liners to go to New Plymouth.
Maasdam Captain Ryan Whitaker (left) exchanged commemorative plaques with Port Taranaki customer relationship manager Chris Dillon in the cruise lines crows nest.
At the helm was Captain Ryan Whitaker with 18 years’ seagoing experience and on his second contract with owners Holland America Line.
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The arrival went without incident on a calm morning with passengers given a complete view of Mt Taranaki prior to the sky clouded over, Whitaker said.
The Holland America Line owned Maasdam.
The Maasdam is 1 of 2 cruise lines scheduled to dock at New Plymouth through the summer, with the Caledonia of the Sea expected on New Year’s Eve.
Up to 790, elderly mainly, passengers were greeted with a kapa haka welcome at the port early each day before boarding shuttles and buses to go to well-known places of interest including Pukeiti Rhododendron Gardens, Egmont National Park, and the Len Lye Centre.
Port Taranaki customer relationship manager Chris Dillon said the international cruise liner market was growing also it presented good opportunities for New Plymouth.
The Holland America Line owned Maasdam berthed at Port Taranaki for a 1 day visit.
“You can find more ships decreasing to New Zealand and we’ve an excellent possiblity to grab an integral part of the market,” Dillon said.
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“We’ve have proved we are able to host cruises with this high grade assets, and we are able to welcome passengers efficiently without compromising the operations of the port,” he said.
“This is a sign the spot was learning to be a recognised stop on the cruise liner itinerary,” he said.
Passengers can exercise in either of two heated saltwater pools up to speed the Maasdam.
Taranaki had not been regular stopover for cruise liner visits and Port Taranaki has been working with the cruise industry to market the town as a destination.
Three cruise lines each visited Taranaki in 2017 and 2016.
For retired Sydney couple, Leo and Jean Ireland, the trip is their fourth to New Zealand, however the first-time on a ship.
Passengers have an array of restaurants, bars and cafes to select from up to speed the Maasdam.
Both within their early 80s, the Cronulla couple experienced relaxing voyage, Leo Ireland said.
Previously they rented a car or took a bus to see New Zealand.
Now it is time to try a cruise, he said.
Accommodation on the Maasdam is deigned for comfortable voyage.
“The purchase price, $1700 for two weeks, was right.
“We have been on the ship going back six days after flying over from Sydney.
“We have been happy with just how it went up to now. The staff have already been great and the meals is good.”
Before arriving in New Plymouth the Maasdam, section of the Holland America Line, sailed down from THE UNITED STATES, the Carribean, to Auckland, and onto Tauranga, Wellington and napier.
It will continue its voyage south Island stopping off at Kaikoura, Akaroa, Dunedin, and Fiordland before sailing to Sydney back, accompanied by stopovers in Fremantle, Asia, SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA and the Baring  eventually;Sea, close to the Arctic Circle.
The Maasdam includes a maximum capacity of 1270 passengers and 580 crew and is serviced having an selection of restaurants fully, bars, theatres, conference rooms, sports deck, heated sea water pools, gym and spa.
Identities including Oprah Winfrey and former Prime Minister Helen Clark have provided entertainment for passengers on some voyages, cruise director Jonathan McNally said.
McNally said the each port visited had provided different things and the brand new Plymouth visit have been well organised.
“This may be a massive chance of the region if you need it to be,” he said.
“New Zealand is now called an exotic location, sufficient reason for the true amount of European ports becoming off limits, you shall visit a growth in cruise lines here visiting.”
Cruise ships contribute $434 million annually to New Zealand economy.
Taranaki’s regional tourism industry was worth around $405 million annually.