Blues skies wel­come in new dawn of cruise lin­ers

Bay of Plenty Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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