Napier's next cruise ship season will run from the start of October to May, with a record 87 liners scheduled to call in on the port.

This season is now in countdown with only four more arrivals scheduled.

Among the final four will be the giant, and now a locked-in regular, Ovation of the Seas which along with an estimated 4900 people aboard will call in on April 5, following the boutique liner Le Laperouse which arrives the day before.

Pacific Aria, with 1500 passengers, will arrive on April 11 and the final visitor of the season will be another regular caller, the Noordam, which carries about 1900 passengers.


It will bring to a close a season which saw 72 cruise ships booked to arrive.

That was up from 57 the previous season — although there had been two cancellations.

The 2019/20 season though will set a new record, starting with the Ovation of the Seas on October 2 and finishing with the Pacific Aria on May 2 in 2020.

January will be the big month for liners with 24 on the books, with 18 scheduled for February and March.

The extra 15 liners will create a major boost to the numbers of passengers who will spend a day in the bay, and an additional boost to the estimated $28 million in passenger spending which the current season was set to pull in according to a Statistics New Zealand report.

For Napier i-Site Centre general manager Jane Libby it was a case of "bring it on" and the additional numbers would not stretch the centre or the region's resources, she said.

"It is a fantastic sector for us to be part of — for Napier and Hawke's Bay as it provides a real taster for many visitors who want to come back."

Libby said the extra arrivals and passenger numbers would not create any problems.


"You have to manage it and balance it and we are a well-oiled machine now."

At the closure of the season she said there would be a debrief involving port representatives and all involved in providing services to the passengers.

"To look at how it has worked and if there is anything we can tweak."

Libby said in the very early seasons of cruise ship arrivals, when they numbered in single figures, all involved could see the potential.

"But I don't think anyone thought it would get this big."

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said the continuing growth of the cruise ship industry was unquestionably beneficial to the whole region.

"I have met so many people who had their first taste of the Bay while here on a cruise and who have come back."

The increase of arrivals next season was excellent news, Dalton said, adding that the effect on the local economy was hugely positive for so many services and businesses.

"I've heard no grumbles about cruise ships coming here ... it's all been positive."

In terms of what the thousands of visitors liked to do the scenic tours, wineries and gannets were always on the list, although there had been an increasing number of visitors who headed for a day (if time allowed) of white-water rafting adventures at Mohaka.