Taranaki gears up to welcome the first cruise ship of the summer


14 December 2023

Taranaki gears up to welcome the first cruise ship of the summer  

This Sunday marks the beginning of the cruise season for Taranaki, with the region set to welcome its first passengers from Australia, Europe, the USA, and Canada.

Leading the charge for the 2023-24 season is the Noordam, a 285m vessel, arriving from Wellington and scheduled to dock at 8 am. The vessel carries approximately 1,972 passengers along with 800 crew members.

“The visit of the Noordam will be a great start to what is an exciting season of cruise vessel arrivals,” says Ross Dingle, General Manager Commercial at Port Taranaki.

“Of the seven we have coming in, the Noordam is one of the larger vessels, so it will be wonderful to have her in Taranaki and we hope the passengers have a fantastic day out in the region.”

After a day of exploration in Taranaki, the ship is scheduled to depart for Sydney at 3pm. Following in the wake of the Noordam, the Queen Elizabeth, carrying more than 2,000 passengers, will berth eleven days later, contributing to the vibrant atmosphere that will set the tone for a bumper Taranaki summer of visitation.

Brylee Flutey, GM Destination, Te Puna Umanga Venture Taranaki, explains, “Of the nearly 8,000 day-trip cruise passengers expected to come ashore at Port Taranaki this summer, many will head off on pre-arranged tours through cruise ship operators while the remaining will embark on self-exploration adventures, discovering our diverse Taranaki offerings, from food, arts and culture, to gardens, galleries, and retail.

As part of the recently developed Taranaki Cruise Strategy, which ambitiously sets a five-year target known as '28 for 28,' aiming to incrementally increase cruise visits to 28 annually by the year 2028, the regional development agency, in partnership with Port Taranaki has been working collaboratively with key stakeholders, including Ngāti Te Whiti hapū, NPDC, and the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce. Together, they have been busy behind the scenes to ensure the region is ‘cruise-ready’ and prepared to provide an exceptional visitor experience.  

Venture Taranaki is working closely with local Taranaki businesses with support from the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce to ensure businesses, retailers, and operators can leverage the opportunity presented by Cruise. 

“We have aligned our efforts locally, working collaboratively to balance the development of a high-value cruise offering that increases traveller demand for Taranaki while also acknowledging the need to develop a sustainable approach to Cruise that respects whenua and tangata,” says Flutey.

The collaborative ‘cruise-ready’ approach has resulted in the development of a printed self-led shore excursion guide containing maps and useful regional visitor information that will be given to passengers and is available at the New Plymouth isite. Additionally, a new cruise-inspired “Welcome to Taranaki” decal sticker is also available for businesses to display on their window frontages.  

To ensure a seamless experience for visitors, the New Plymouth isite team will be stationed at Port Taranaki to assist passengers in booking tours and providing information, and shuttles will transfer passengers to Puke Ariki Landing for further exploration.

Dedicated volunteer city ambassadors will be on hand to greet passengers from the shuttles, and equipped with comprehensive information on the region's attractions, iconic hot spots, retailers, and eateries.

“Promoting local community activities is key to maximising the impact of each cruise ship visit. Events such as The Seaside Market at Ngāmotu Beach, coinciding with the arrival of the first cruise ship, provide an excellent opportunity for local businesses to showcase their products and for passengers to take home a unique Taranaki keepsake, as well as a taste of Taranaki,” continues Flutey. 

On the other cruise ship days, The Seaside Market will move to Puke Ariki Landing to add extra vibrancy to the CBD and extend the opportunity for international guests to buy local.   
“We’d love for the community to help our visitors have a great time in Taranaki, by extending the warm hospitality we’re known for, and coming down to Ngāmotu Beach or the Lee Breakwater to welcome or farewell the vessels this summer,” says Dingle.  


Cruise ship schedule

Taranaki 23/24 Cruise Season


Cruise Brand

Cruise Company


Scheduled Arrival


Holland America


1972 pax

17th December 2023

Queen Elizabeth



2092 pax

28th December 2023

Seabourn Odyssey



458 pax

24th January 2024

Island Princess



2214 pax

7th February 2024

Seabourn Sojourn



450 pax

15th February 2024

Silver Shadow


Royal Caribbean

382 pax

19th February 2024

Hanseatic Spirit



230 pax

7th March 2024

To find out more visit - https://www.venture.org.nz/sector-development/visitor-sector/cruise/

Further information:
Venture Taranaki:
Sophie Kelly, Communications and Marketing Manager
E. [email protected] Ph. 022 352 9851.

Port Taranaki: Warrick Quinn, Communications advisor
E. [email protected] Ph. 06 753 7354 or 021 102 8905