Blues skies welcome in new dawn of cruise liners
The sunny blue skies that greeted the Bay of Plenty’s first cruise ship passengers of the season were a good omen, tour operators say.
Majestic Princess, Princess Cruises’ new $700-million flagship vessel, arrived from Wellington at berth one at the Port of Tauranga before sunrise yesterday.
It was the 144 kilotonne maiden visit to Tauranga.
The arrival marked the start of what was expected to be a record-breaking cruise season for the Bay, with 110 scheduled ships bringing more than 300,000 visitors — passengers and crew — to the region, injecting $91m into the local economy.
Among the 3626 passengers and 368 crew on board the Majestic Princess were Americans Monita and Hubert Steenbakkers, from Florida.
Like a predicted 40 per cent of this year’s 200,000 cruise visitors, they were planning to spend the day in Rotorua.
Monita said she was looking forward to seeing sheep up-close at the Agridome — “I’ve only ever seen sheep from a distance before“— as well as visiting Waiotapu.
“It’s our first time to New Zealand but it won’t be the last.”
Australian cousins Vicki McLean and Chris Cartwright were planning to hit the shops to look for souvenirs.
McLean, from Kalgoolie in Western Australia, said it was her first cruise and first time in New Zealand.
She and Cartwright had “always
Tauranga tour operator John Mathieson has been a guide in the city since the 1990s.
Bethlehem Coachlines hop-onhop-off bus greeter Karen Beaumont.