Cruise ship tour raises thousands

By Patrick O'Sullivan

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Explorer of the Seas' crew are some of the many donating time and effort for a Cranford Hospice fundraising tour of the ship later this month.
Explorer of the Seas' crew are some of the many donating time and effort for a Cranford Hospice fundraising tour of the ship later this month.

Ten thousand dollars has been raised for Cranford Hospice thanks to a sold-out fundraising lunch and tour of luxury cruise ship Explorer of the Seas on February 29.

At 312 metres it is the biggest ship to visit Napier Port and has been delivering tourists to Hawke's Bay for three years.

It has 15 decks, 10 pools and 15 bars and lounges.

It can carry 3114 passengers and 1176 crew, many of whom have waived shore leave to cater to the fundraiser.

Organiser Jenny Nilsson from House of Travel said by receiving an experience it was a "win-win" for people and the hospice, but she is keeping a firm eye on the weather.

A previous tour on the Royal Caribbean International ship was cancelled after the ship by-passed Napier due to bad weather, resulting in more than 60 per cent of people asking for their money back.

"I always get a little bit nervous. I don't get too excited until the day of the event," she said.

"The community should be aware everything is going to Hospice, which is outstanding."

Security was tight for the $150 tour by the 68 ticket holders, with photo ID required "and a huge amount of paperwork".

She said it was heartening to see so many people come forward to support the charity.

"Not many regions have the love and care that we have in the beautiful building down there."

Nimon bus company saw the tour advertised and offered free transport for the tour party from the Napier iSite to the ship.

"It is a beautiful service to offer. It is a long way to the wharf."

She said ship tours of visiting ships were popular "because of the romance of having a big cruise ship into our port".

She said it was a very interesting experience and, for some people, part of a life ambition.

"Often we have that fantasy dream, that one day I'm going to board that ship and make that trip, but sometimes that trip never happens to people."

Ten cruise ships were due to visit Napier in February, four in March, three in April and the last in May giving a season total of 45, pumping an estimated $25 million into the local economy from 90,000 passengers.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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