NAPIER Port is anticipating a record cruise season with 92 cruise calls booked between November 2023 and April 2024.

The North Island port on Tuesday welcomed the National Geographic Orion as its first cruise ship of the season. The first large ship, Grand Princess, is due a week later.

Napier Port has 18 “double days” scheduled (days with two cruise vessels in port at the same time) and two “triple days”.

It also expects a number of maiden calls to Napier, including the Resilient Lady and Celebrity Edge. The final cruise ship booked to visit this season is Carnival Splendor.

Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson said the port is excited to welcome cruise ships back.

“Cruise tourism was able to bring immediate support into our region and in particular to local businesses in Napier during the post-cyclone recovery period,” he said.

“As we head into the summer holiday period a similar level of economic support will be much welcomed by retailers, hospitality, and tourism operators.”

Mr Dawson said this will be the first season berthing cruise vessels at Napier Port’s newest wharf, Te Whiti (6 Wharf).

“Designed as a multi-purpose wharf, Te Whiti is capable of berthing the largest cruise vessels coming to New Zealand, including the Oasis-class liners (such as Icon of the Seas), as well as container and bulk cargo vessels.

“We expect to berth approximately 20 cruise vessels on Te Whiti this season.”

Mr Dawson said Napier Port is now able to berth cruise vessels on five of its six wharves, providing greater flexibility and availability for cruise lines.