The last cruise liners of the year are calling into Hawke's Bay with the arrival of the Viking Orion today and the Norwegian Jewel on December 31.

That will then signal the start of the two traditionally busiest months of January and February, with 16 passenger-bearing ships set to tie up.

The first arrival for 2019 will be the Viking Orion, its second visit in seven days, carrying 930 passengers.

January will see an estimated 24,290 passengers step ashore and a similar number in February.


With the region's tourism populace also swollen by domestic visitors local businesses and tourism operators will be rubbing their hands.

Tourism industry figures show the cruise ship industry, and its effects on the economic landscape, is continuing to grow.

The 2016-17 season saw the financial contribution of cruise ship tourism across the New Zealand economy at around $447 million.

Figures currently show that the present 2018-19 season will pump around $640m into the economy.

There have also been significant increases in the number of people who have found employment due to the rise in the cruise industry.

Like other popular destinations, Hawke's Bay, which ranks as a top passenger favourite according to polls, is also seeing the results of the boost in arrival numbers.

The 2017-18 season showed 60 cruise liners calling at Napier Port bringing in around 102,500 passengers.

Figures show estimated passenger expenditure in the Bay was about $18m.


The present season of 2018-19 will see 66 liners calling with about 112,000 passengers, who will spend about $21m here.

March is also set to be busy with 13 liners arriving and the season wrapping up with four visits in April.