Auckland Fullers' ferry commuters fuming as berthing cruise ships cause delays, cancellations

Ferry regulars are seething after a berthing cruise ship delayed their morning commute on Tuesday.

Footage captured by The AM Show shows the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship blocking a Fullers ferry as it berthed at Auckland's Princes Wharf.

A number of outraged commuters have expressed their anger on social media.

"What is it with AT prioritising cruise ship passengers over the [average] Auckland ratepayer... added 40 mins travel time to every person who needs to drive into town with the shambles downtown, and now they're killing ferry users," one man tweeted.

"Hundreds of commuters told to naff off by a cruise ship in Auckland Harbour again. Long queues at Matiatia," another woman said, alongside a screenshot of the Waiheke to Auckland 7:30am ferry service cancellation.

NZME reporter Chris Keall also experienced delays, tweeting that "a line of ferries" were left circling the harbour due to "another cruise ship jam".

Auckland Transport (AT) spokesperson Mark Hannan confirmed that Fullers decided to cancel the 6:45am Auckland to Devonport service, the 7am Devonport to Auckland service and the 7:30am Waiheke to Auckland service, blaming "cruise ship traffic".

Hannan said that all cruise ships arriving and leaving the port are scheduled by the Ports of Auckland more than a year in advance. All scheduled cruise ship arrivals and departures are listed on the Ports of Auckland website

"The Harbourmaster prohibits cruise ships entering the port between 7:30am and 9am and 4:30pm and 6pm (Monday to Friday) due to the amount of traffic on the harbour at that time," he told Newshub.

"There are no restrictions on ferries entering or leaving the ferry basin at any time. Ultimately the decision to enter or leave the ferry basin is the call of the master of a vessel."

AT issued a Twitter statement saying the final responsibility for safety lies with the ferry skipper, who may decide to delay a ferry service if there is a cruise ship in the vicinity. Their main advice was to "allow extra time".

"As the quantity and frequency of cruise ships visiting Auckland continues to grow, so will congestion on the Hauraki Gulf water space that we all share and rely on to operate our service. Fullers360 have experienced significant disruptions to some of our sailings due to logistics around cruise ships when they dock and depart from the ferry basin," a Fullers spokesperson told Newshub in a statement.

"We have seen cruise ships berthing at times outside of their schedule, which is hard to plan for. In addition cruise ship movements approved to come into the harbour during commuter times will also have a significant impact. As a result, we have had to alter our service at the moment."

Fullers has offered their apologies to customers and says the team is working hard to keep to their schedule over the peak summer season,

"We have been calling for urgent intervention with Auckland authorities and those that oversee the cruise ship activity to find an immediate and long-term solution for everybody."

According to the Ports of Auckland website, the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship was scheduled to arrive from Napier at 6:53am and will depart to Paihia at 10pm on Tuesday.