Magnificent sea-going monsters on way

By Roger Moroney


The last week of this month is set to be the biggest in terms of giant cruise liners heading into the Port of Napier.

Over four days the three biggest liners to arrive in the Bay this season will make an impressive appearance - giving ship-watchers plenty of reasons to get out their binoculars.

The statistics are as impressive as the great cities of the seas themselves. If they berthed end to end they would be just 99m short of a kilometre - or about nine rugby fields long.

Placed on scales they would collectively weigh 312,900 tonnes.

The first to arrive will be the 294m, 90,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth - the flagship of the Cunard line. It will arrive from Auckland on February 22 for a 10-hour stay before sailing for Wellington.

The following day the 295m, 85,000-tonne Carnival Spirit will arrive from Wellington at 7am for a 10-hour visit.

However, the biggest of them all is scheduled to call on February 25 at 11am. It is the Voyager of the Seas, which at 311m long and weighing in at 137,000 tonnes is the largest cruise liner to ever call at the Port of Napier.

While daunting on paper, handling the giant was not an issue when it made its first call to Napier in late November. Two tugs escorted it in, and the skill of the chief pilot and the power of the liner's maneuvering thrusters made it look easy.

The arrival of the Voyager of the Seas drew hundreds of sightseers to the Hardinge Rd foreshore.

All up the liners are set to bring about 7000 visitors to the region.

February is the busiest month for the liner trade with 20 arrivals.

There will be 10 in March and the last visit will be by the Oosterdam on April 2.

The next cruise ship season will start on October 13 with the arrival of the Sea Princess.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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