Gales Keep Cruise Ships from New Zealand Port

March 4, 2014
Christchurch (7:10 a.m. EST) -- At least two cruise ships have been forced to cancel calls on a New Zealand port due to high winds and heavy rain currently affecting the region.

Sea Princess and Oceania's Marina both scrapped stops in Akaroa, New Zealand, as the region was hit by wind gusts topping 80 mph. Sea Princess missed a call at the port on Monday (March 3) and Marina has reportedly canceled a call scheduled for Wednesday (March 5).

News website has reported that the entirety of the Akaroa peninsula is suffering a power outage due to the storms. New Zealand's Meteorological Service issued a number of severe gale and storm warnings for Tuesday and into Wednesday, covering most of the country's south island and part of the north island.

A spokesperson for Oceania Cruises said: "Marina is sheltering in place at Wellington. She will skip Akaroa and sail straight for Picton on the evening of the fifth."

Cruise Critic has contacted representatives for Princess Cruises, and we will update this story as more information becomes available.

Akaroa -- a town of around 600 residents lying 50 miles south of Christchurch, New Zealand, by road -- has served as the primary port for cruise ships since an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck Christchurch in February, 2011. The earthquake, along with multiple major aftershocks, caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage throughout the city, including the port.

Oceania Marina is on a 16-night South Pacific cruise that departed Sydney on February 23. Sea Princess is on a 14- night Australia & New Zealand cruise that departed Brisbane on February 27.

--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor