More than 3000 passengers will visit Marlborough on Sunday when the biggest cruise ship to dock at Shakespeare Bay this season sails into Picton.
The 137,000-tonne cruise ship Voyager of the Seas will carry 3100 passengers plus crew to Waimahara Wharf in Shakespeare Bay at 2pm and will leave at 10pm.
Passengers will be greeted off the gangway by the "flower ladies" and many will be welcomed into Picton by a team of 25 "meet and greet" volunteers.
Travel agent Renaissance Tours director Tony Petrie said the visit could bring benefits for businesses on the day and there was potential for it to create more tourists in the future.
Mr Petrie estimated about 700 passengers had pre-booked day trips into Marlborough.
Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said that while cruise ships visited for only a day, it was important to make the passengers want to come back.
The Picton i-Site would offer 21 tours and experiences scheduled to depart from 3pm, aimed at those looking to pick their itinerary on the day.
Stall-holders would hold a Picton craft market at the east end of the foreshore.
Port Marlborough operations general manager Carmen Gimpl said it was vital the region made a good impression because bigger cruise ships were expected in the future.
Ships ranging in length from 290 metres to 311m will berth at Shakespeare Bay nine times this season. A total of 11 ships will visit Marlborough 20 times.
Sunday's visit will be the second cruise ship visit this season. The first was the Radiance of the Seas, which arrived with 2400 passengers and crew on October 9.
About 700 passengers had pre-booked their tours.
The Voyager of the Seas will return to Marlborough on December 29.
- The Marlborough Express