Grand cruise liner makes fleeting visit to Tauranga

By Jenee Tibshraeny

The Queen Elizabeth cruise liner graced the Port of Tauranga with its presence for the first time yesterday.

Considered the "creme-de-la-creme" of cruise liners, the $643 million vessel brought about 2000 passengers to the region for the day.

"On average one third [of passengers] are on pre-booked tours that board buses direct off the ship, while the other two thirds come through the new Tourism Bay of Plenty welcome facility. Around half book local and regional tours, the other half opting to shop and walk around Mauao," said Tourism Bay of Plenty general manager, Rhys Arrowsmith.

He said cruise liner visits brought $47 million to the Bay each year.

"This stop ranks as one of the top three ports in the Southern Hemisphere as a stand-out place for cruise passengers, and today was no exception."

The Queen Elizabeth is Cunard Line ship's newest luxury ocean liner, named by the Queen in 2010. Passengers can enjoy a garden lounge, spa, games deck, shopping arcade, formal dining verandah, bars and nightclubs and ballroom, for about $21,000.

The vessel is 285m long, and weighs 90,000 tonnes.

It was docked in Auckland on Wednesday, and stops off in Napier today. It will head back through the Pacific to continue its over 90-day journey around the world. Eighty-two cruise ships are scheduled to visit Tauranga this season, up from 54 last season.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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