In a first for the region, Nelson saw the arrival of two simultaneous cruise ships on Sunday, January 26.
Between the two vessels, the Regent Seven Seas Voyager and the Maasdam of the Holland America Line, they brought more than 1800 high-value passengers plus crew to the region.
The luxury, 204m Seven Seas Voyager which boasts sea-view balconies for all cabins, is carrying 700 passengers and 400-plus crew. Nelson is the final stop on its New Zealand itinerary and the passengers are making the most of their time with pre-booked onshore excursions, taking in the sights of the Abel Tasman by foot and by air, wine regions, authentic waka experiences and Nelson highlights before heading out across the Tasman Sea to Sydney.
The larger, 220 metre Maasdam, arriving from New Plymouth, is a premium cruise carrying 1250 passengers and 580 crew. While some passengers are booked on tours, a majority will be descending on the city and enjoying the best of what the Nelson City Centre and its surrounds have to offer.
Port Nelson, Uniquely Nelson and the Nelson Regional Development Authority have been working together closely with tour operators, retailers and service providers to ensure the best possible experience for the visitors to the region.
As well as full tour bookings, there are several city activations including a bumper Sunday market, special cruise retail offers and entertainment at the top of Trafalgar Street to create a real buzz in the city centre and will enable passengers to live like a local during their stay, leaving with fond memories of the best little city in New Zealand.
Happy cruise passengers sharing their stories back on board and when they return home are the best ambassadors for Nelson and will go a long way in encouraging more return cruise ships, as well as independent travellers to experience Nelson for themselves.