Rugby World Cup 2011 Attracts Cruise Passengers

( Almost 5500 passengers will sail into Auckland on three official Rugby World Cup 2011 cruise ships during next year’s Tournament.

The three cruise ships confirmed to berth on Auckland’s waterfront during the semi-finals and RWC 2011 Final are the Rhapsody of the Seas, the MS Volendam and the Pacific Dawn.

RWC 2011 Auckland spokesperson Michael Barnett says the confirmation of the ships in Auckland is great news for the Auckland economy and will add to the festival atmosphere around Auckland’s waterfront.

“The ships will be in Auckland for the weekends of the semi-finals and the Final and no doubt the passengers will be bringing their credit cards and looking to get out and about in Auckland,” Barnett says. “That’s great news for Auckland businesses.”

Rugby Travel and Hospitality Ltd, managers of the official RWC 2011 travel and hospitality programme, have sourced the three ships. The Rhapsody of the Seas, which will berth at Princes Wharf, has a capacity of 2435. The 1432-passenger MS Volendam will berth at Wynyard Wharf and the Pacific Dawn, with an expected 1590 passengers on board, will be at Queens Wharf.

Tourism Auckland CEO and RWC 2011 Auckland Regional Steering Group member Graeme Osborne says Rugby World Cup 2011 will bring a huge influx of visitors to Auckland and the cruise ships will be a special part of that.

“Having cruise ships berthed at the bottom of Queen Street is a great fit with our ‘City of Sails’ reputation and will add hugely to the buzz and vibrancy in Auckland during the event. The ships will provide an important boost to our accommodation capacity during the two busiest weekends of the Tournament,” Osborne says.

Work to ready Auckland’s waterfront for RWC 2011 is already well advanced. The first stage of the Wynyard Quarter development (Jellicoe Street and the public plaza at its western end, as well as a retail and entertainment precinct on North Wharf) will be ready for the Tournament. Work has also begun on the new Viaduct Events Centre on Halsey Street. And plans are being finalised for the use of Queens Wharf during RWC 2011.

Barnett says the arrival of the three ships for the Tournament’s two biggest weekends will help bring Auckland’s waterfront and CBD alive.

“There will be a festival atmosphere all the way along Auckland’s waterfront and the cruise ships and their passengers will be a big part of that,” he says.

Osborne says the cruise ships and their passengers will deliver significant benefits for Auckland’s tourism sector.

“We’re already working with tourism operators and other visitor facing businesses to prepare for 2011. The Tournament will deliver a welcome boost to the economy and also reinforce Auckland’s reputation as a world class visitor destination.”

RWC 2011 cruise ship packages are currently on sale as part of the Tournament’s official travel and hospitality programme.

About the RWC 2011 Auckland Regional Steering Group

The RWC 2011 Auckland Regional Steering Group is made up of key Auckland organisations including all Auckland councils, Tourism Auckland, transport agencies, business groups, rugby unions and match and training venues. The group and its workstreams are preparing Auckland for RWC 2011 in areas such as transport, business programmes, tourism, training venues and supporting events.

For more information on Auckland’s preparations for RWC 2011 visit Auckland 2011.

Media Release 23 April 2010 from Auckland City Council.