The biggest megaliner to visit New Zealand will stay in this region longer this summer and is confirmed to return for another season, Royal Caribbean International said today.
The company said Ovation of the Seas will now extend her maiden season down under with four extra cruises during this coming summer.
Royal Caribbean also said that Ovation will return for a second season in summer 2017/18 due to the "extraordinary demand'' for the ship from Australians and New Zealanders.
Together these new programmes will add almost 60,000 new beds to the local cruise market.
At 348m Ovation will be the biggest cruise ship to ever visit here and its arrival is a coup for the cruise market in this country - one of the fastest growing in the world - and the tourism sector which has targeted the industry as a source of high numbers of increasingly wealthy visitors. The ship will carry close to 5000 passengers.
The 348m vessel is so big it will have to be anchored off the Hilton Hotel and there are plans for passengers and crew to be ferried to the Viaduct,
Final deployment details for both new programmes will be released later this month.
"The level of interest for Ovation of the Seas has exceeded all of our expectations; we're currently over 90 per cent sold for next summer's sailings," said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean Australasia.
"She is a true game-changer and such was the high demand for the ship that we've been able to secure four extra cruises from Sydney, which will extend the season into late February 2017.
The level of interest for Ovation of the Seas has exceeded all of our expectations; we're currently over 90 per cent sold for next summer's sailings.
"This extension of her maiden season - plus her subsequent return in summer 2017/18 - reaffirms Australia and New Zealand's position as one of the most significant cruising markets in the world," Armstrong continued.
Ovation of the Seas will claim the title of equal third largest cruise ship in the world - eclipsed only by Royal Caribbean's twin ships Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.
She is the third ship in the Quantum class and brings a set of first-at-sea experiences to Australasia including a skydiving experience; the North Star glass viewing pod 90m above sea level and the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, a circus school and other attractions.
Ovation of the Seas is more than 50m tall, weighs 168,666 gross registered tonnes, has 18 decks and can accommodate 4905 passengers and 1500 crew