At 311m in length the cruise liner Voyager of the Seas is hard to miss - especially while reversing carefully into Napier Port yesterday afternoon she made the two container ships being worked look like maritime midgets.

The tip of the 137,276 gross tonne liner's funnel easily took the title of being the highest point of the port landscape during its six-hour stay, far exceeding the tallest container crane.

In terms of height, the liner is effectively a 12-storey building.

It was the Royal Caribbean International line ship's first of three visits to Hawke's Bay this cruise season.


She is scheduled to call again on January 31 and February 28, and like yesterday will almost certainly again draw scores of people to the Hardinge Rd foreshore and the Bluff Hill lookout to see a true giant of the seas.

For many of the estimated 3000 passengers aboard, the sunshine was a great welcome, after on and off rain during visits to northern ports over the past few days.

It also meant a fine time for many to enjoy a first for the cruise line, and any cruise line for that matter.

During a major refurbishment in October and November the Voyager of the Seas replaced its in-line skating track with a "Flowrider" surf simulator.

It meant while anywhere on the open high seas passengers could enjoy, in complete safety, a spot of surfing - on deck, so to speak.

But not only the passengers.

The liner's Norwegian skipper, Captain Charles Teige, has also tested the ship's surf and gave it the big tick.

As did top Kiwi professional surfer Paige Hareb who went aboard while the ship was in Auckland to give it a shot.

She was impressed, and of course made it look all rather easy.

Royal Caribbean is now Australasia's largest cruise operator during the summer season with more than 59,000 passengers expected to sail aboard it's three liners operating around New Zealand.

In terms of passengers, Australians make up the majority with 52 per cent, followed by Americans (17 per cent) and Kiwis at 10 per cent.

Since 2009, Royal Caribbean has carried 27,332 New Zealand passengers.