The Ovation of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship to visit Northland, has arrived in the Bay of Islands with almost 5000 passengers on board.

The Ovation which, at 348m, is longer than the Sky Tower is tall, arrived in the Bay at 7am, escorted by the harbourmaster's pilot boat.

It cruised around Tapeka Pt to anchor between Tapeka and Waitangi.

Tenders will be bringing the passengers ashore and a powhiri for the Ovation's captain will be held at Waitangi Wharf at 8.30am.

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Businesses in Paihia and Russell have geared up for the influx and council-owned company Far North Holdings (FNH) is organising extra shuttle buses, traffic control and parking.

The last tender will be returning to the ship at 6pm after which it will depart for Tauranga.