I have never seen a queue for a bus as long as the one I spotted on Marine Parade last Monday.

It ran from the Napier i-Site centre and along the footpath to a point pretty well opposite the MTG Hawke's Bay.

There must have been at least 400 people - they were passengers from the giant cruise ship Explorer of the Seas which arrived in port carrying about 3100 visitors.

They had a bit of a wait for a shuttle back to their floating motel, but they had plenty to look at, for every three or four minutes it seemed a huge truck and trailer rumbled or rattled by ... depending on whether it was full or empty.


As has happened in the past, the schedule of ships decreed that along with the great liner (one of two in port that day) a fertiliser ship would also be in port, meaning a constant stream of great trucks would be travelling the seafront Marine Parade - all day.

Unlucky timing.

I ventured up that way a couple of times during the day and at one stage there were three in a row lined up at the pedestrian crossing by the colonnade, and two on the other side.

I felt slightly embarrassed for the visitors as, to be honest, it was not a good look for an otherwise picturesque little promenade.

Because a great percentage of them like to wander the pretty seafront and its gardens and pathways.

But ok, trade is trade and the port was there a long time before the cruise seasons and Art Deco pursuits began, and the straight run out to Awatoto is effectively an economical one for the transport industry.

Which is understandable.

But I can't see why an exception to that apparent rule cannot be made when there are cruise ships in port.

Just for 24 hours can the great trucks not be detoured out to the new Prebensen Drive circuit (which is effectively what it was built for wasn't it?) to keep the parade clear as they did when there was a cycle race on last Sunday.

If port and tourism could check the timetables and do some temporary route alterations accordingly it would be a good start.