The "summer" cruise ship season signed off appropriately in Napier yesterday under a sunny blue sky.

The 77,500-tonne Dawn Princess tied up after arriving from Wellington at 7am and sailed at 2pm for Tauranga.

It was the latest arrival and departure of a cruise ship during a season so far - with the schedule usually wrapping up in late April.

Its 1900 passengers clearly kept the Art Deco Trust guides, vintage car tours and winery excursion tours busy as they took advantage of the more spring-like than late autumn weather.


The end of the 2013/14 season was a lot more memorable than the opening arrival of the season - which failed to arrive.

The sister ship of yesterday's final caller, the Sea Princess, had been scheduled to kick the season off on October 14.

But the Sea Princess was unable to enter port due to high seas and high winds.

Later in the season the Dawn Princess was also forced to bypass Napier because of high winds.

It did however make eight other successful calls, with 55 cruise ships calling during the season. Tourism operators and the Princess Line will be hoping for a more promising start to the 2014/15 season as the Sea Princess is again scheduled to make the first call on October 5.

There are 59 scheduled arrivals next season which will set a new "last visit" record with the boutique liner Insignia scheduled to call on May 23, 2015.