Tauranga's cruise ship season kicked off with a warm welcome for more than 1000 visiting passengers, including retirees Stan and Christine Smith from Scotland.

The couple were among the 1098 passengers and 587 crew onboard MS Maasdam, the first cruise ship to visit Tauranga for the 2019-2020 season, which docked at the Port of Tauranga at 7.30am yesterday and sailed to Auckland at 6.30pm last night.

"We love New Zealand and were really looking forward to visiting Tauranga and seeing more of your beautiful country," Stan Smith told the Bay of Plenty Times.

Smith said he and his wife Christine

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