The biggest ship scheduled to berth in Napier is already fully booked, with more than 4000 passengers, a year out from its maiden stop in the port during a 10-day cruise next January.

Ovation of the Seas, which, at 348m, is more than 30m longer than the biggest ship to have so far berthed in Napier, is operated by Royal Caribbean and will carry 5480 people, comprising 4180 passengers and 1300 crew.

Now regular Royal Caribbean Napier visitors Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, built in 1999, each about 312m and both scheduled for Napier stops in the next few days, each carry 3114 passengers.

Ovation of the Seas, one of three new next-generation Royal Caribbean liners, will launch in China in April and is due to arrive in Australia on December 15, for a season of Asia, Pacific and New Zealand tours.


Bookings are still available on a 15-day cruise which opens the season but does not include Napier. However, a cruise from Sydney on December 30 with New Year's Eve on the Tasman Sea and a nine-hour stop in Napier on January 5 next year is fully booked, according to the Royal Caribbean website.

The company says Ovation - sister to Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas - has been built at a cost of $1.4 billion at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, with the Chinese cruise market in mind. It is scheduled to spend most of its time in China, with a short season sailing from Australia.

It will feature many first-at-sea innovations including a skydiving simulator, a jewel-shaped glass capsule that rises 300 feet above sea level with 360-degree views from high above the ship, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with attractions including bumper cars, roller skating and video gaming to a circus school complete with trapeze classes.