It's been a long time between visits for cruise ships and Port Taranaki, over two years in fact.
The last cruise ship to have stopped at Port Taranaki before Covid-19 put a pause on international travel, was the Azamara Journey which visited the region in February 2020.
Port Taranaki head of commercial Ross Dingle says he is therefore delighted the Government has confirmed the maritime border will reopen to the cruise industry at the end of July this year.
"This is fantastic news, and it's very exciting for our region and businesses throughout Taranaki."
Taranaki is a great destination for cruise passengers, he says, with a wide range of experiences for visitors to enjoy while their ship is docked in the port.
"We'll now work closely with the New Zealand Cruise Association and the cruise industry to support the sector to transition safely back into business."
The past couple of years have been tough for tourism in the region, he says.
"It has been an extremely tough period for the cruise industry and the wider tourism sector.
"At the time Covid-19 hit, as sport and as a region we were gaining momentum and building a reputation as a necessary stop on the cruise ship itinerary.
"So now we will work alongside Venture Taranaki, the New Plymouth District Council, the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, and tour operators to build that momentum again, promote Taranaki as a great destination to visit, and ensure the region is well prepared for future visits."
While the cruise schedule for the 2022-23 season is still being confirmed, there are currently tentative plans for three vessels to dock at the port over the season, with the Europa 2 scheduled to visit at the end of January, the Island Princess in mid-February and the Seabourn Odyssey in early March.
If the Island Princess does visit, at 249 metres long, she will be the largest cruise ship to have visited Port Taranaki and with a capacity for over 2200 passengers could bring an impressive number of visitors to the region with her.
She would undoubtedly look "sensational" as she came into port, says Ross.
"At Port Taranaki, we have the infrastructure to accommodate all types and sizes of vessel, and the region has the facilities and places of interest to cater for all types of cruise preferences."
A total of eight individual cruise ships have signalled their interest in visiting Taranaki over the next two summers, some of them indicating plans to visit more than once.
Another impressive vessel to feature on that list is the Queen Elizabeth, which also measures 249 metres and can carry more than 2500 passengers. She had been scheduled to visit the port in the 2020-21 summer season before Covid-19 put a sudden pause on all cruise ship visits.
Venture Taranaki general manager people and place Vicki Farley says the reopening of the border is a positive development.
"Prior to the pandemic, cruise had been a growing opportunity for us as a region, and we're thrilled to be welcoming back cruise passengers once again as we continue to support the growth and development of our visitor industry."