The cruise ship season finally got under way with the first ship arriving on Sunday morning.
The scheduled first ship, the Oceanic Discovery, encountered difficulties on an earlier leg of its route and could not come to Kaikoura as planned on January 17.
The Seabourn Odyssey, with five decks and 225 luxury suites, can accommodate up to 450 passengers. With the weather turning on the charm, the majority of passengers came ashore on Sunday with a constant stream of visitors being welcomed by mayor Winston Gray and a handful of local business operators.
A gazebo was set up with bunting, background music (all Kiwi of course) and information about some of the attractions, a map and other useful facts.
Mr Gray said he had received plenty of positive feedback on the day, with many people saying they could not believe how beautiful Kaikoura was.
They spread themselves around town and took part in a range of activities including kayaking; albatross, dolphin and whale-watching tours (by air and sea); Maori tours and sheep shearing.
Some even took helicopter rides to the top of Mt Fyffe, while others simply enjoyed a scenic walk around the peninsula.
"The peninsula walk is a real asset and they loved it," Mr Gray said.
"One couple around 60 ran right around and back to the boat.
"I met a couple who were here three weeks ago and they were encouraging others to join them and do the peninsula walk . . . with a day like [Sunday] it would have been difficult not to enjoy Kaikoura."
The steel finger jetty, which has been recently adjusted to the correct height, was ideal for disembarking passengers and a vast improvement on the dilapidated wooden corner jetty which has previously been used.
This was likely to be the largest number of cruise passengers to visit this summer and Mr Gray said while some notes had been taken on how to improve their experience, all in all it had been a very successful start to the season.
The second cruise liner, the Oceanic Discovery, was due in to Kaikoura yesterday, while the remaining schedule is as follows:
Caledonian Sky, January 31; Oceanic Discovery, February 10; Caledonian Sky, February 11 and 20; Seabourn Odyssey, February 21;
Oceanic Discovery, February 22;
Breman, March 10.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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