The stark white of the cruise liner dubbed the "sexiest ship" on the sea stood out against the grey sky as it sailed into Tauranga Harbour yesterday.

Luxury liner Seabourn Encore arrived at the Port of Tauranga yesterday and will return a little after 8am tomorrow. It was scheduled to leave at 6pm.

A two-week stay aboard the 604 person-capacity vessel would set guests back up to $40,000. The typical passenger is 66 years or older.

The ship features restaurants from Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, a wellness programme designed by a celebrity doctor, star guest speakers (Julia Gillard will be on board during the Australian leg later this year), bars, pools, a casino and 12 viewing decks.


Lyricist Tim Rice and Belinda King are providing entertainment aboard the ship during the New Zealand leg, and a spa and wellness programme designed by medical pioneer Dr Andrew Weil was also available to guests.

Some of the quirkier services available include sunglasses-cleaning by pool staff, white-glove service at afternoon tea and bespoke samphire and eucalyptus bathroom products by Molton Brown.

Last Sunday the ship collided with the Milburn Carrier II at the Port of Timaru. An investigation into the collision had been launched and could take between 12 and 18 months to complete.

A Transport Accident Investigation Commission spokesman said investigators boarded the Seabourn Encore yesterday at Akaroa, spoke to the captain and collected "relevant" materials.

"What we understand is that the Seabourn Encore was docked alongside the Milburn Carrier II when, in high winds, its moorings broke, and it collided with the carrier," he said.

There was some reported damage but no injuries.

The captain of the Milburn Carrier II and port officials were also spoken to by investigators, the spokesman said.

Maritime New Zealand was also investigating. The inquiry findings would be "peer reviewed" before being released.