Napier packed as thousands of cruise ship visitors arrive on Ovation of the Seas

Napier was teeming with tourists yesterday as visitors roughly amounting to the same population as Waipukurau disembarked from the Ovation of the Seas cruise liner.

The massive ship docked early at Napier Port yesterday morning, before disgorging its passengers onto shuttle buses, the first of which arrived at Marine Parade at about 9.15am, Napier i-Site manager Jane Libby said.

“We filled about 20 shuttles pretty quickly – a lot of them are keen to do the tours to the likes of the wineries and Te Mata peak.”

Read more: Majestic Princess cruise ship confirmed for Napier Port next season

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She said this was particularly the case with these passengers who had come from Wellington, where they would have had a shopping day, before some sightseeing in Napier ahead of arriving in Picton tomorrow.

Dealing with the influx of tourists, which she described as being like a small city being transported into Napier, was now a well-oiled machine, with extra staff brought in to deal with the influx.

Many of the passengers on this trip were from Australia.

Colleen Butcher, from New South Wales, and Anna Sammarco, from Sydney, both seasoned cruise-goers, said they had enjoyed a trip to the Silky Oak chocolate factory in the morning, and were planning to hit the shops in the afternoon.

The Ovation of the Seas is one of the largest liners to enter Napier
The Ovation of the Seas is one of the largest liners to enter Napier

Also from Australia, on only their second cruise, Matt Natolo and Lily Stath said they had been enjoying a wander around the city, and a visit to the aquarium.

“We like penguins – we have done tours in the past, but decided to wing it this time,” Ms Stath said.

While the Bay Cities Symphonic Band played in the Sound Shell, pedestrian management was a must as flocks of people headed towards town, where businesses were enjoying the busy day.

At Giftware and Engravers, Andrew Glenny said the shop had been opened especially for the cruise ship in town and custom had been steady.

“They’re mostly from the ship, but there’s also local – they are buying lots of souvenirs, and if someone has a birthday on board they are grabbing presents as well.”

Hooters Vintage and Classic Vehicle Hire was having a very successful day, director Ana Brock-Jest said.

“We filled out the open-tops in the first two hours of the ship arriving. When you have a great day like today with all this Hawke’s Bay sunshine you can’t help but do well.”

Hawke’s Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the revenue generated in the local economy from a cruise ship visit depended on the size of the ship.

“Cruise generates close to $20 million a season for our local economy.

“It’s a hugely important boost for hospitality, retailers and tourism operators.”

The Ovation of the Seas is scheduled to return to Napier on March 19.

New Zealand Business News

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