Cruise Milford Sound

On December 31 the mega cruise ship "Ovation of The Seas" made a visit to Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park, one of the three UNESCO protected World Heritage Sites in New Zealand. The local population turned out in force to take a look, all 103 of them. That's not a typo, around 103 people permanently live in the Fiordland National Park, a rain-forested region of 4,600 square miles!

The 'Ovation of The Seas' is the fourth biggest cruise ship in the world, hosting 4905 passengers, with a crew of 1500. 

It follows a 2013 Milford Sound visit by another huge cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) 

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December 21, 2016 - 'Ovation of The Seas' in Milford Sound, the biggest cruise-ship to visit New Zealand.

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March 19, 2013 - The Queen Mary 2 ocean liner is dwarfed by the stunning landscapes of Milford Sound

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The QM2 enjoys the peace and solitude of Fiordland National Park.

Here's how local newspaper 'Stuff" reported the event - 

The largest cruise ship ever to visit New Zealand, The Ovation of the Seas, is cruising in Milford Sound. 

The ship is newest and biggest cruise ship crusing the waters of New Zealand and Australia. At a length of three football fields, a height of 165 feet and a displacement of 185,000 tons, it is the fourth-largest cruise ship in the world. 

Venture Southland tourism team leader Warrick Low said cruise ships brought 400,000 visitors to New Zealand each year. "This is an opportunity is to give passengers a really unique experience. It's a mobile hotel but they can get off and experience a really unique part of New Zealand while they are here." 

Milford Sound Development Authority general manager Tim Holland said that although there were no berthing areas in Milford Sound, transfer boats would connect visitors in smaller groups to the land. "Sometimes cruise ship passengers transit off and do a short tour of the area," Holland said. "I'm sure most passengers getting off the boat bring benefits to the economy. Apparently this season is going to be one of our biggest. It's quite cool to see the big boats coming in and turning around." 

Destination Fiordland tourism manager Philippa Murrell said Fiordland saw many cruise ships, but not all passengers would disembark. "Those that do, usually enjoy a brief visit to Te Anau before continuing on their journey," she said.

"One of the benefits to Fiordland is that many of the people on these cruise ships are experiencing Fiordland for the first time and are inspired to return at a later date to visit and stay in the region." 

Murrell said the guests would enjoy the "stunning" coastline, a variety of scenery and marine life and, of course, the Fiords – mainly Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound.

OVATION OF THE SEAS: THE FACTS

4905 =Total number of passengers

2091 = Number of staterooms

1572 = Number of cabins with with balconies

1137 = Length in feet

134 = Width in feet

18 = Number of decks

16 = elevators for passengers

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Dec 28, 2016