The Ovation of the Seas - the fourth-biggest cruise ship in the world - has arrived in Tauranga.

The $1.45 billion vessel has a surfing pool, skydiving simulator, rock-climbing wall, dodgem cars, circus school and an observation gondola that rises 90m above the ship on a hydraulic arm.

Its passage into Tauranga has been made possible by the dredging of the harbour earlier this year and is a milestone for the city's cruise ship industry.

The ship arrived after dawn and is scheduled to leave at 6pm.


Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless is one of several city officials who have been invited on board for a presentation.

The Ovation of the Seas and two sister vessels are the world's fourth-largest cruise ships, each at 169,000 gross registered tonnes.

The Ovation of the Seas cruised around Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound on Wednesday after crossing the Tasman Sea from Tasmania. It visited Wellington on Friday.

After leaving Tauranga, the ship will head to Auckland. As it is too big to dock there, it will anchor in the harbour and ferry passengers ashore on smaller boats.
Today's visit comes amid the Bay's biggest-ever cruise ship season, with 83 ships and 153,000 passengers expected. Five of the ships will berth overnight.

The Ovation of the Seas is scheduled to return to Tauranga on February 5, berthing next to the 114,000 tonne Emerald Princess for a "double-day" that will bring 9500 passengers to the city.