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Christchurch and Banks Peninsula ready for return of cruise ships

Wednesday, October 19, 2022   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: tourism, transport, planning

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 19th October 2022

After a nearly three year absence, cruise ships are about to start calling into Lyttelton and Akaroa harbours again.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the cruise industry to a standstill, but with international borders now open again, cruise ships are starting to return to our shores.

On Thursday 27th October, Lyttelton will welcome the first of more than 100 cruise ships that will visit Christchurch and Banks Peninsula over the coming months when the Celebrity Eclipse docks at the port’s new cruise ship berth.

The Celebrity Eclipse can carry up to 2400 passengers.

Lyttelton’s new cruise ship berth can accommodate cruise ships of all sizes and will host 85 cruise ship visits over the 2022/23 season.  Akaroa will host 17 cruise ships over the season, with the first ship scheduled to arrive in the picturesque harbour on Saturday 19th November 2022.

Christchurch City Council has been working closely with ChristchurchNZ, Lyttelton Port Company, Environment Canterbury and the Lyttelton Harbour Information Centre to manage the cruise ship visits to the Lyttelton and Akaroa communities and to ensure that cruise ship passengers get a warm welcome to the city.

“In the years since the earthquakes most of the cruise ships visiting Canterbury have called into Akaroa because large vessels could not berth at Lyttelton due to the damage to the port," says Council General Manager Citizens and Community Mary Richardson.

“But now that Lyttelton has a purpose-built cruise ship berth, it will be hosting the majority of cruise ship visits. The town is well set up to accommodate these visits and on cruise ship days there will be dedicated shuttles running from the cruise berth to both Lyttelton and Christchurch.

“Some ships will still call into Akaroa, but they will be mainly smaller, luxury liners so that should ease the pressure on the township," says Ms Richardson.

“Over the cruise season we will be stepping up maintenance and servicing of public toilets and rubbish bins in Akaroa and at times putting traffic management in place to keep traffic flowing and prevent overcrowding. We will also be ensuring that access to the wharf is maintained for everyone."

ChristchurchNZ Acting General Manager of Destination and Attraction Tracey Wilson says they are expecting around 170,000 cruise passengers to the city over the season.

“We’re working hard with our city partners to help ensure a positive visitor and resident experience.

“I want to give a big thanks to the locals who have volunteered to be City Champions and help give a warm Canterbury welcome to our international visitors. This is a great opportunity to show travellers our beautiful, vibrant new city and to boost our visitor economy.”