New Zealand’s first ever custom-built cruise ship facility is now officially set to be opened by the Lyttelton Port Company in November 2020.

While smaller vessels have continued to visit, large cruise vessels have been unable to berth at Lyttelton Port since the February 2011 earthquake. With the new cruise berth in place, LPC will be able to welcome the full range of cruise vessels, including ships that cater for over 5,000 passengers and 2,000 staff.

The cruise berth is currently under construction with piling on schedule, meaning the facility will be open by November 2020, in time for the 2020/2021 summer cruise ship season.

LPC Chief Executive Peter Davie says more than 70 bookings for cruise ships for the 2020/21 season have been received.

“The new berth means Lyttelton will be able to berth a larger cruise vessel on the new Cruise Berth and still have smaller cruise ships in the inner harbour. We will be able to say yes to all cruise ships.”

Passengers will then be transported by bus from the cruise ships into Lyttelton and Christchurch, where they can explore everything Canterbury has to offer.

Deputy Mayor of Christchurch and Councillor for Banks Peninsula Andrew Turner says the construction of the cruise berth is an exciting step forward for Canterbury.

“This really puts Lyttelton and Christchurch on the map.”

From Lyttelton, the passengers can explore the newly-rebuilt Christchurch central city, as well as travel by train to the West Coast.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz congratulated the Lyttelton Port Company on the infrastructure project.

“The investment in port facilities at Lyttelton is a further sign of the Canterbury region’s recovery and resurgence following the devastating 2011 earthquake in which the port experienced significant damage,” Mr Katz said.

“In addition to highlighting the region’s resilience, the facilities provide cruise operators with greater flexibility and choice in itinerary planning for the growing number of cruise visitors to New Zealand.”

This video  was created for the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference held in Miami in April, the world’s largest gathering for the cruise ship industry.

The video also shows 3D graphic imagery of the layout of the cruise berth, including transport options to get passengers into Lyttelton.

For more information on the project and construction updates, visit the Harbourwatch website.