Drier visit hoped for second to last cruise ship of season

By Roger Moroney

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The 138,194 tonne Explorer of the Seas will call in at the Port of Napier this season.
The 138,194 tonne Explorer of the Seas will call in at the Port of Napier this season.

The largest liner to call at the Port of Napier this season is set to tie up on Sunday and businesses and tour operators will be hoping those aboard enjoy a drier visit than those on the February 29 visit experienced.

The 138,194 tonne Explorer of the Seas, with an estimated 3100 passengers aboard, is scheduled to arrive at 7am and will be the second-to-last cruise liner of the season to call.

It will be the giant ship's third visit to Napier this season.

The Dawn Princess is due to arrive tomorrow at 5.45am and the boutique liner Insignia will be the last with a late season call on May 17.

When the Explorer of the Seas called in late February it was greeted by an un-summer-like day of rain and coolish temperatures.

Local hospitality providers will be watching the weather forecasts closely as the weekend approaches, with the long-range MetService forecast showing a fine Saturday but the possibility of some showers on Sunday with a temperature of 21C.

However, even if there are spots of rain in the air passengers tended to shrug it off, Napier i-Site manager Jane Libby said.

"They are on holiday and they are just happy to be here - when we've had to say 'sorry about the weather' they just say it's no problem, everything is fine."

But staff are hopeful they won't have to offer that line up on Sunday when the thousands aboard head for town.

Mrs Libby said the tour vehicles coupled with destination venues meant there was plenty of cover anyway.

"And hopefully others who stay in town will go into more shops," she said.

While the 2015/16 season was down over the previous season in liner arrival numbers (45) the 2016/17 season, which will kick off with the arrival of the Sun Princess on October 11, is set to see 56 liners steer a course for the Bay.

The current season had been notable for one major aspect, Mrs Libby said.

"All the ships programmed to come in have come in - there have been no cancellations."

Previous seasons had seen at least one cancellation due to high winds across the port entry channel.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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