Busy lunchtime for some as first cruise ship hits town

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Some Port Chalmers businesses enjoyed a boost in trade with the arrival of the first cruise ship of the season, the Sun Princess, last Thursday.
Careys Bay Historic Hotel owner Jo Kidston said an estimated 25 to 30 cruisers came in for lunch that day which, combined with about 20 other patrons, doubled the usual luncheon crowd at the hotel.
‘It usually takes them a while to figure out where we are but it was a really good day for us actually ‘ Ms Kidston said she was ‘‘pleasantly surprised’’ with the additional patronage.
‘‘We usually don’t get much off the cruise ships. It usually takes them a while to figure out where we are but it was a really good day for us actually.
‘‘I was pleasantly surprised how many of them found their way around here straight away. Definitely more than previous years.’’
The Sun Princess can carry 1950 passengers and 900 crew.
Portsider co-owner Hanz Dekker said his business also enjoyed additional patronage from those onboard.
‘‘We did have a few. It wasn’t massive but we weren’t expecting that.’’
The extra patronage justified a decision to open Portsider four hours earlier than usual whenever a cruise ship arrived, he said.
‘‘Most of the time it’s worth opening [early] . . . . because normally we open at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. When there’s a ship in, we open at 11.’’
Mr Dekker said the Portsider also had some repeat customers off the Sun Princess.
‘‘It was nice to see some familiar faces from the crew in.
‘‘There’s quite a few people that have been on board those ships for years who we always see when they come down.’’
He said the crew onboard cruise ships were important to focus on because they would return to the area during the season.
‘‘A lot of people tend to focus on the passengers but I think the crew is a better market because they come back every few weeks.’’
However, the first cruise ship did not provide a boost for all Port Chalmers’ hospitality businesses.
Union Co Cafe owner Peter Cole said his takings for last Thursday were down on the previous day and less than the following day.
He said cruise ship passengers were not typically interested in eating and drinking in Port Chalmers.
The next cruise ship for the season, the Noordam, is scheduled to dock in Port Chalmers at 7.30am on November
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