Shipping schedules Marinas

Successful cruise season concludes

Port Marlborough has wrapped up an exceptional cruise season, setting new records and receiving high praise from visitors.

This year 55 cruise ships berthed at Waimahara and Waitohi wharves, including 10 maiden calls. The 2023-2024 season saw 100,859 passengers and 43,876 crew members exploring the region, a slight increase on previous years.

Port Marlborough’s GM Port and Marine Ryan Lock said to commemorate the first-time visits, representatives from Port Marlborough and Council presented plaques to the ship captains.

“The team at Port Marlborough facilitate the cruise industry for Marlborough through the provision of pilotage and towage services, port planning and administration, and wharf logistics including gangways, security and marshalling. Our team is proud to play a part in this key tourism trade for our region,” Mr Lock said.

“Our port team reported that cruise passengers were particularly impressed by the unique experiences offered in Marlborough, which stood out in contrast to other ports. The proximity to both the natural environment of the Marlborough Sounds and being centred in New Zealand’s biggest wine producing region allows for a variety of engaging activities that cater to the diverse interests of passengers, which was reflected in the positive stories we heard from passengers after their days ashore,” he said.

Winery tours proved to be a major draw, with many passengers taking the opportunity to sample some of Marlborough’s finest wines directly at cellar doors. Water taxi tours in the Sounds were another highlight, offering passengers the chance to explore the Marlborough Sounds up close.

“The local artisan markets which are organised by the Picton Lions Club were also well regarded, and our local hospitality and retail outlets proved popular for passengers to enjoy refreshments, top-notch meals and local souvenirs,” Mr Lock said.

Picton Flower Ladies once again provided a warm welcome for cruise visitors throughout the season.

Nationally the number of cruise visits for next season are slightly down, however Mr Lock said there was no major reduction in numbers for Picton with around 52 visits scheduled.


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Picton Cruise Season

Ovation of the Seas – © Tim Faircloth