International cruise industry restart good news Marlborough's Dashwood Wines

While COVID-19 means Kiwis aren't currently heading offshore onboard cruise ships, the same can't be said for our wines.

The resumption of cruising in international markets is great news for New Zealand winemakers hit hard by the global pandemic and a drop in exports. 

Princess Cruises resumed sailings in North America last week and as customers lay on the ship decks sunning their freshly vaccinated bodies, many are drinking wine from Marlborough.

Dashwood Wines Sauvignon Blanc was, until the pandemic, the number one most popular wine served across the entire Princess Cruises global fleet.

The company's chief winemaker Stu Marfell said the suspension of cruising had an impact on their bottom line, so to see cruising being restarted is welcome news.

"Our wines have a big following in the hospitality sector around the world on airlines and cruise lines alike. We saw strong order volume through to March of 2020 until sailings were  abruptly put on hold," Marfell said. 

"However, with services set to begin again in the northern autumn combined with consumers' pent up demand for travel, we look forward to Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc resuming its strong growth trend overseas." 

Princess Cruises started its Alaska season on July 25, with the Majestic Princess ship setting sail from its homeport of Seattle. It will operate a total of 10 cruises sailing out of Seattle through to September.

Regal Princess commenced sailing on July 31 from its Southampton homeport in the UK, launching a season of 19 cruises around Europe through to October. 

Pre-COVID-19, the cruise industry is said to have contributed more than NZ$500 million to the New Zealand economy each year through fees and charges, logistics, transport, shore tours, fresh food and other services.  

Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia's sister lines normally spend about NZ$6 million on New Zealand food and beverage each year. 

New Zealand itself is Princess Cruises' number one destination.

The company's Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Stuart Allison, underscored how good for Dashwood's it is to have its wines served on global cruises.

"I am looking forward to when cruising to New Zealand can resume but, in the meantime, its  restart in North America and the UK is again enhancing Dashwood's international reputation for amazing New Zealand wine," he said.

While there are currently no future Princess or Carnival cruises out of Aotearoa open for booking, P&O Cruises this week began taking bookings for its 2022 season.