Cruise ship passengers injured in a horror bus crash on Akaroa peninsula had spent the day experiencing New Zealand farm life and tasting local produce.

Two American passengers from the Celebrity Solstice remain in Christchurch Hospital after the bus they were in collided with a car and smashed down a steep bank.

Today police are still at the site, on the Christchurch Akaroa Rd, although the highway was reopened to traffic around midnight.

The Royal Caribbean cruise line said the most seriously injured of the 31 passengers were from the United States.


Spokesman Owen Torres said six guests from the US were among the injured along with the drivers of both vehicles.

The remaining passengers had returned to the ship and were continuing their trip around New Zealand. The ship has now arrived at Dunedin.

Torres said those on the bus were participating in the "Farm Wine and Cheese - Sheep Farm and Dog Show" excursion.

Four tourists had been discharged from hospital overnight and the company's care team was helping with their travels.

"All other guests have returned to the ship. Our thoughts are with all those involved and we are praying for their speedy recovery," Torres said.

The tourist bus and car collided just after 5pm and the bus ended up down a bank near the intersection of Summit Rd and the Christchurch Akaroa Rd.

Two people suffered critical injuries, five were seriously injured and one person had moderate injuries. Those with the worst injuries were flown to hospital by rescue helicopter.

Another 26 people, who either had minor or no injuries, were taken to Akaroa Fire Station on another bus for paramedics to assess them before rejoining the cruise liner in Akaroa Harbour. The ship has now arrived in Dunedin.

Christchurch Police Acting Inspector Paul Reeves said the crash investigation was expected to be completed by 11am today.


The road would then be closed for several hours while the bus wreck was recovered.

No diversions would be in place and motorists were asked to avoid the area.

The New Zealand woman driving the car remained in a critical condition.

Reeves said the bus driver was in a serious but stable condition and two bus passengers were in a stable condition.

Camera operator Matthew Simons said the bus was about 50m down the bank and a blue Toyota was on the road.

Debris from the smash was strewn on the road and the front of the car was mangled. Pieces of the car were lined up on the side of the road, resting on a bank.

Tragedy has struck Celebrity Solstice on New Zealand roads three times in the past few months.

A Canadian passenger from the ship was severely injured when he was hit by a campervan while cycling with his partner on Otago Peninsula nearly two weeks ago.

And an elderly American woman was killed in November while riding a bike in Tauranga the day the ship arrived in the city.

The same afternoon a bus carrying ship passengers collided with a car on State Highway 29. The car's driver died, but nobody on the bus was injured.