A record number of cruise ships will dock in Northland this summer season and industry experts predict the trend will continue.

Last season 49 vessels docked in Northland and total expenditure was $15 million.

This coming 2017/18 cruise season, 64 vessels will dock in Northland and passenger expenditure is predicted to be $19m.

Total value added to economy by cruise tourism for 2016/17 season was $447m and that is expected to increase to $640m by 2018/19.

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The busiest day will be December 20, with Maasdam, Caledonian Sky and Ovation of the Seas, the biggest ship ever to call at the Bay, due to arrive.

Cruise New Zealand CEO Kevin O'Sullivan said the Bay of Islands copes pretty well in peak times.

"We aren't expecting it to rise at the same rate after 2018, I think what's happening that's not in the reports is that six large ships in particular are coming more frequently, so that's where a lot of the growth is coming from," O'Sullivan said.

O'Sullivan said one of the things CNZ was looking at was opportunities for cruise ships to dock in Northport in Whangarei, instead of the Bay of Islands.
"There's more things to do in Whangarei, Bay of Islands is a great location – don't get me wrong, but Whangarei has got a lot more to offer in a different and distinct way," O'Sullivan said.

"When the Hundertwasser is up and running in 2020 that will be a good drawcard for Whangarei as well."

O'Sullivan said CNZ had approached several cruise lines that had shown interest in the idea, but it would be a few years away yet.

Over the Ditch, Australia is also heading toward a bumper cruise season.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has announced that it has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the Australian Cruise Association (ACA) and the New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA).

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The signing of the memoranda signals a desire "to work co-operatively to strengthen and support the development and growth of both the Australasian and New Zealand cruise industries."

"In line with CLIA's motto of One Industry, One Voice, these MOUs are a positive step forward in the development of the industry in this region, and are based on mutual cooperation and knowledge sharing, while keeping a focus on supporting industry growth," MOU's CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa was approached for comment but hadn't responded by deadline.