Cruise: ‘Sector in good shape...’

Cruise: ‘Sector in good shape...’

Though cruise in New Zealand faces tough challenges in the short term, at least the industry can be sure there will be demand to get back on ships when the sector can ramp up operations here again.

Benjamin Dale, New Zealand account manager with destination management company (DMC) Akorn, says a real worry had been whether or not people are still wanting to cruise.

‘The answer to that has been a resounding yes. Cruise is selling extremely well (around the world) so demand is not a worry any more.’

He says for New Zealand the biggest challenge is likely to be finding experienced staff when cruise does finally resume here.

He also wishes that cruise ships were able to sail here this summer, in part to overcome any reservations the country may have about welcoming the vessels back.

‘It would be good to deal with issues like that before the next season starts.’

Dale conducted an update and networking webinar session this week and says about 100 people joined in, while 20 or so have requested recordings because they couldn’t make the live event.

‘It was great to see such a strong turn out for cruise across a wide array of people, from operators to cruise lines and agents.

‘While the short term is not good (in NZ) due to the lack of a clear roadmap, there are lots of exciting developments in the industry with most of the world’s cruise fleet sailing by the end of the year.’

Dale says a lot of questions he receives are around the general state of the industry.

‘We’ve actually seen less than 40 ships retired and more than 50 come into service, so we are looking at a newer and more modern fleet than we had before. We’ve also seen 40 new expedition ships launching in this period, smaller vessels which are ideal for New Zealand.’