Radio New Zealand says that ports of Auckland is set to turn away one of the world's largest cruise ships after agreeing with its council-owner not to build one of two planned wharf extensions.
It said, without the extension, it could not berth the Ovation of the Seas, which means the mega-liner may also drop stops at four other New Zealand ports.
The cruise ship industry believes millions of dollars are at risk if extensions to Auckland's Bledisloe Wharf
After a months-long stoush, Auckland Council yesterday announced an agreement with Ports of Auckland to proceed with only one of two planned wharf expansions at Bledisloe Wharf - the eastern B2 wharf - and to commit to having it removed if the forthcoming Port Future Study found it to be redundant.
The decision means the 'Ovation of the Seas' cruise ship will not be able to visit Auckland as planned next year.
Meanwhile, a cruise industry lobby group says that if Ports of Auckland is not allowed to expand big cruise ships will not come to New Zealand.
A cruise liner capable of carrying of 4900 passengers and 1300 crew may never make it to New Zealand because Ports of Auckland is too small, it said.
A maiden visit to New Zealand next year by Ovation of the Seas was announced two weeks ago. Cruise New Zealand says it may not happen because Ports of Auckland is not being allowed to fully pursue plans to extend its Bledisloe Wharf.
Cruise New Zealand estimates that Auckland could lose $12.4 million next year, while the cost to the wider New Zealand economy could be 120,000 passenger port days which translates to $40.4 million.
"Ports of Auckland has advised that due to the change in its development plans, it will not now be able to accommodate the Ovation of the Seas," Cruise New Zealand chairman
Kevin O’Sullivan says.
But this worst-case scenario has not yet been confirmed by the ship's operator.
Gavin Smith, regional vice president, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises, told Cruise Critic that the company would attempt to seek a solution to the issue.