In a fine example of "where did the year go?" the new cruise ship season for Hawke's Bay is set to kick off in less than a month with the arrival of the Sun Princess from Wellington on October 11.

It will be the first of a scheduled 56 cruise ship arrivals at Napier Port - 11 more than the 2015/16 season.

Among the arrivals during the coming season will be two of the largest ships ever to tie up at the port, with one of them, the 113,500 tonne Emerald Princess carrying 3090 passengers and set to make five visits.

The 290m liner will call on November 22, February 6 and 22, March 25 and April 17 - bringing a potential 15,450 passengers to the region.


But it will be overshadowed size- and passenger-wise by what will be the new record holder for Napier Port in terms of size.

The Royal Caribbean line's Ovation of the Seas weighs in at 168,660 tonnes and is 348m long.

It carries 4180 passengers and is scheduled to make its only visit to Napier this season on January 5.

About 92,000 visitors came ashore during the last season for what economists believe created a $25 million economic boost for the region.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said the rising numbers of ships heading this way underlined Hawke's Bay's increasingly strong reputation as a destination to head for.

"These sort of numbers are great for the Bay," he said.

"And it reflects the fact that in all the surveys we rate very highly as a destination and are always right up there - either at the top or second."

Mr Dalton said attracting one of the largest cruise liners in the world, the Ovation of the Seas, further underlined that.

"People love to come here and the end result is all good for Napier and the region.

"It is a lovely place to visit."

While the season gets under way earlier than last season the following 2017/18 is set to spark up even earlier.

The Holland America Line's Noordam is scheduled to arrive on September 29, 2017.