Cruise ship passengers are predicted to have injected $91 million into the Bay of Plenty during the 2018/2019 season, which ends today.

The final cruise ship of the season - the Noordam - arrived at the Port of Tauranga early this morning and will depart at 5.30pm today.

Tourism Bay of Plenty estimated 228,904 passengers and 96,180 crew arrived on 115 cruise ships throughout the season.

Nine cruise ships stayed overnight, 25 arrived twice and two arrived three times.


An estimated 79,189 more passengers and an extra 27,995 crew arrived in Tauranga this season compared to 2017/2018.

The 2018/2019 season was estimated to be worth $91 million in visitor spending to the region, compared to $65m the previous year.

Tourism Bay of Plenty cruise manager Nikita Fraser said the 2018/2019 cruise season had been fantastic for the region and local tourism businesses.

"Tauranga is the only port in New Zealand where Celebrity Solstice visits overnight and we were delighted to welcome her for two overnight visits this season," she said.

Destination Rotorua consumer marketing manager Tom Worsp said cruise ship passengers were an important source of visitors to Rotorua.

"Our proximity to Tauranga means 35 to 40 per cent of passengers coming into the Port of Tauranga choose an excursion to Rotorua, making them a significant contributor to our $816m visitor economy.

"The impact on the visitor industry goes beyond the cruise season though as research tells us cruise passengers have a high propensity for return visits to New Zealand."

James and Kathleen Shea visited the Bay of Plenty for the first time on board the Golden Princess.

"It is our first time to New Zealand," he said.


The pair had arrived from Los Angeles and have been on several cruise ships before.

James said he and his wife were retired and travelling by cruise ship was much less expensive.

"The cost of flying and finding accommodation is much more expensive," he said.

Cruise 2018/2019:
- An estimated 228,904 passengers
- An estimated 96,180 crew
- 115 ships
- 9 overnights
- 25 double days
- 2 triple days

Cruise 2017/2018:
- 149,715 passengers
- 65,225 crew
- 82 ships
- 17 double days
- 1 overnight

Source: Tourism Bay of Plenty