Hundreds gathered at Pilot Bay this afternoon to wave off the first cruise ship of what is expected to be a "record-breaking" season.
Majestic Princess, Princess Cruises' $700 million flagship vessel, arrived in port early this morning on the ship's maiden voyage to Tauranga.
Waiting at Salisbury wharf this morning was Te Puke woman Gayleen Balment, who sailed on the Majestic Princess from Sydney to Vanuatu last week.
She was with a new friend she made on board, restaurant worker Aleksandra Stanisavljevic.
Balment had arranged to show Stanisavljevic, from Serbia, around Tauranga.
A visit to a kiwifruit orchard and lunch at the Funky Lizard Cafe were on the agenda.
During the season, which runs until April 16 next year, more than 200,000 passengers are expected to visit Tauranga.
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said having 110 cruise ships scheduled to visit was a new record for Tauranga, up 35 per cent up on last season's 81.
There will be two cruise ships in on 24 days as well as two triple-ship days, nine overnight visits and seven visits from the world's fourth-largest cruise ship, the Ovation of the Seas.
Dunne expected the season to bring 225,442 passengers and 94,724 crew to Tauranga and inject $91m into the local economy and support 1224 Bay jobs.
Majestic Princess fun facts
- two swimming pools
- 20 ice sculptures produced each cruise
- 22 knot top speed
- 200 tonnes of marble
- 1000 square metres of shopping
- 4000 pieces of art
- 18,000 bottles of wine and champagne in the cellars
- 250,000 eggs consumed each week.