Cruise ship has new Auckland home
Conrad Andrew is ready to get out on his new playground – the Hauraki Gulf.
The Bay of Islands man is a jack-of-all-trades, working in everything from television sales to commercial fishing.
He’s spent the last four years as skipper, engineer and bowsman of 30-cabin cruise ship Ipipiri.
The 146-foot vessel operated by Hauraki Blue Cruises is now calling Auckland waters home after it was relocated to the Viaduct from the Bay of Islands in June.
It is the only cruise ship permanently based in New Zealand.
And the crew is ready to see what the City of Sails has to offer, Andrew says.
‘‘We’re excited about getting to play in the Hauraki Gulf for a change.
‘‘The water is awesome, it’s never the same. You can go out to the same place each day and it’s always different.’’
The ship will open for business in mid September and is offering lunch cruises as well as overnight stays.
Weddings are a popular event on board as well as corporate functions and private parties, Andrew says.
A bride was in the middle of her vows when some dolphins started jumping in the background on one chartered trip, he says.
‘‘We do have dolphins turn up most of the time. They seem to like weddings.’’
The cruise operator is part of the InterCity Group, one of New Zealand’s largest transport companies.
Chief executive John Thorburn says it was a big decision relocating the boat to Auckland after five successful years in the Bay of Islands.
The sheer number of people living and visiting Auckland was the deciding factor, he says.
And a swell of inquiries has already started rolling in, he says.
‘‘Auckland just made real sense.
‘‘It’s a chance to interact with that amazing Hauraki and what is a magical playground in the Waitemata Harbour in a way that isn’t available currently. To us it’s the best of both worlds.’’
Good times: Skipper Conrad Andrew has had some great experiences during his four years on board Ipipiri.