The port of Napier in New Zealand is set to break its own record this Saturday, January 7, with the arrival of three cruise ships: the Viking Mars, Silver Muse, and Star Breeze. In all, the three ships are expected to bring around 1,700 passengers to the city.
Napier has become an increasingly popular destination for cruise ships sailing to New Zealand, not in the least due to the proximity to the famous Hawke’s Bay wineries.
Three Cruise Ships in One Day to Napier, New Zealand
The popularity of New Zealand as a cruise destination has increased significantly over the last ten years. This is becoming apparent in particular in destinations such as Napier, which has gone as far as building a new $175 million pier, Te Whiti, to facilitate the influx of cruise ships to the region.
“Previously, we’ve had double cruise days where two cruise vessels have visited, but this is the first time three are berthing same day,” a Napier Port spokesperson said. “With Te Whiti wharf, we can now have three cruise vessels in and still accommodate container, log, and bulk cargo vessels calling.”
The Viking Mars, Silver Muse, and Star Breeze cruise ships will arrive at the port on January 7. This influx of visitors is expected to provide a boost to local businesses and further enhance the area’s reputation as a top destination for cruise ship travelers.
Viking Mars is sailing a 14 Night Australia & New Zealand cruise which departed Sydney, Australia, on December 27. Silver Muse is sailing a 12-Night Auckland, New Zealand To Melbourne, Australia cruise, which departed Auckland on January 4. Star Breeze is operating an 11-Night Wildlife & Wines of New Zealand cruise.
Busy Summer Cruise Season for Napier
The summer cruise season in Napier runs from October to April, and so far, there have been 22 cruises that have visited the port. Another 65 cruises will dock during the rest of the season, including eight cruises in the coming week.
January 2023 will be a hectic month for Napier Port, with 24 cruise ships scheduled to visit, including the Viking Mars, Silver Muse, Noordam, Seven Seas Explorer, Grand Princess, Viking Orion, Azamara Quest, Silver Shadow, Norwegian Spirit, Azamara Quest, Regatta, Celebrity Eclipse, and Ovation of the Seas.
There have been some hiccups this cruise season in New Zealand, with several vessels being forced to sail to Australia instead of New Zealand due to biofouling fears.
Biofouling is where ships have a build-up of algae and other marine life on the hull that is not native to New Zealand. Before being allowed in New Zealand territory, the vessels have to get their hulls cleaned.
Attractions in the Area
One of the main reasons that cruise ships visit the Napier area is for the famous wineries in the region, particularly in the Hawke’s Bay area.
Napier is a gateway to winery tours and elegant tastings at local vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, making it an ideal stop for wine enthusiasts. The region is well known for its Bordeaux blends, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, and wine lovers from around the world come to experience the region.
In addition to the wineries, Napier is also home to a number of other attractions that draw visitors from around the world. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1930s and subsequently rebuilt in big and bold Art-Deco style.