Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Major Christchurch Earthquake Impacts Cruise Schedules

Cunard Line's QM2 and Queen Elizabeth in Sydney Feb 22
Royal Rendevous Overshadowed by 
Major Earthquake

Cruise ship calls at Christchurch, New Zealand, are being cancelled following this week's devastating earthquake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and destroyed large areas of the city and suburbs.    

At least 65 people have been killed, making this New Zealand's worst disaster in more than 80 years.  The suburb of Lyttelton, where cruise ships dock, has suffered infrastructure damage.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all the people of New Zealand impacted by this natural disaster.  This post provides links to sites with additional information.  We will attempt to provide updates to assist those who might be traveling in the region.
Graphic courtesy USGS

Magnitude 6.3 – South Island of New Zealand

Monday, February 21, 2011 at 23:51:43 UTC
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 12:51:43 Local

The February 21, 2011 South Island, New Zealand earthquake occurred as part of the aftershock sequence of the M 7.0 September 3, 2010 Darfield, NZ earthquake. 

This latest shock is significantly closer to the main population center of Christchurch, NZ, than is the September 2010 mainshock. The February 21st earthquake represents the largest aftershock to date.

The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated and a National State of Emergency has been declared (www.beehive.govt.nz). 

Peak Cruise Season for Australia & New Zealand

This is the peak season for cruise vacations to Australia and New Zealand.   Cruise itinerary changes are anticipated in the wake of the quake.   Cruise lines are responsible for health and safety of their guests.    Any changes that are made are done so regrettably, but unfortunately become necessary when conditions prevent planned port calls to be made.

Lyttleton Port of Christchurch posted the following statement:  "The 6.3 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday 22 February caused further damage to Lyttelton Port of Christchurch infrastructure and facilities.  Our priority is for the safety of all staff and we can advise that fortunately there were no injuries sustained at the port."   Read more on their webpage.

Cruise Itinerary Changes - Christchurch
  • Cunard Line: QM2 will call at Wellington (Feb. 26)
  • Holland America: Volendam (Mar. 5) - no changes yet - monitoring situation
  • Princess Cruises: Sun Princess (Feb. 28) - extending stay in Wellington then three hours of scenic cruising Marlborough Sound
  • Princess Cruises: Dawn Princess (Mar. 4) - no changes yet - monitoring situation
  • P&O Cruises Australia: Pacific Sun will call at Akaroa (Feb. 25)
  • P&O Cruises Australia: Aurora (Mar. 7) - no changes yet - monitoring situation
Cunard president Peter Shanks, who was in Sydney for the rendezvous of QM2 and Queen Elizabeth, said (that Cunard would be) "doing all it can to support the devastated port city."

We will provide updates as more information becomes available 
Last Updated:  23 Feb -  9 PM Est

Useful Links for Additional Information

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