Islands expect 26 cruise ship visits this year

Monday June 13, 2016 Written by Published in Local

RAROTONGA and Aitutaki are expected to receive visits from 26 cruise ships this year – and Cook Islands Ports Authority harbour master Saungaki Rasmussen is hoping a higher proportion than last year will be able to actually disembark passengers.


He said a relatively large number of cruise liners that had been scheduled to visit last year, had been unable to allow passengers to go ashore be-cause of bad weather.

“In the financial year July 1 2015 – June 30 2016 we had eight cancellations in total – five for Rarotonga and three for Aitutaki. All were due to bad weather,” Rasmussen said.

He said cruise ship visits were important for the Cook Islands, especially as tourism contributed greatly to the nation’s economy.

The P&O luxury liner Pacific Pearl made a successful stop at Rarotonga on Monday of Queen’s Birthday weekend and Rasmussen said the next cruise ship was expected to visit the island in August.

Rarotonga kicked off the 2016 cruise ship season late last month when the smaller cruise ship Paul Gauguin called into port on May 29, bringing more tourists to bolster the country's retail outlets and businesses. Passengers aboard the Pacific Pearl were not so lucky as Monday (June 6) was a public holiday and Avarua was largely deserted.

However, when ship visits coincided with a normal business day, plenty of passengers came come ashore and spent on everything from taxis and shopping, to eating out in local bars and restaurants and participating in tours, Rasmussen said.

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