As New Zealand reels from earthquake chaos, cruise lines amend calls to Christchurch.

The deadly 6.3 magnitude earthquake that shook Christchurch yesterday morning, has so far caused 65 deaths with that number expected to rise.

Buildings are extensively damaged in the New Zealand city and emergency personnel are working to find survivors caught in the rubble.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has reported that all passengers travelling on board Europa returned to the ship “healthy and uninjured” after being caught on shore excursions when the earthquake struck. Europa had sailed in to Lyttelton Harbour, the port for Christchurch, early yesterday morning and has now continued on its scheduled itinerary.

Speaking yesterday while in Sydney for the Royal Rendezvous, Cunard Line president, Peter Shanks, said Queen Mary 2 wouldn’t make her scheduled call at Christchurch on February 26 but would visit an alternative New Zealand port instead.

P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Saga Cruises are all scheduled for visits to the city in coming days and weeks.

So far we have found that the following ships will be diverted from Lyttelton (the port for Christchurch):

  • P&O Cruises’ Pacific Sun will anchor off Akaroa tomorrow and passengers will be tendered ashore.
  • Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will visit Wellington this weekend instead of Lyttelton.
  • Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess will stay in Wellington on Sunday and cruise Marlborough Sounds on Monday. Dawn Princess is scheduled to call at Lyttleton on March 4 and the itinerary has not been amended as yet.