First of six cruise ships due to visit

Last updated 12:00 18/01/2014

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Nelson will welcome its first cruise ship of the season on February 4.

Nelson Tasman Tourism said the luxury cruise ship MV Seabourn Sojourn will berth in Nelson that day, as the first of six cruise ships to visit the region this year.

A total of seven will come here for the 2014-2015 cruise ship season, Nelson Tasman Tourism chief executive Lynda Keene said.

The Seabourn Sojourn is described as a high-end cruise ship carrying 450 passengers from around the world, mainly from the United States, Britain and Europe.

Ms Keene said it was expected that around 300 of the 450 passengers on board would head into Nelson city. A free shuttle bus would be operated by SBL.

The remaining passengers were booked on tours to the Abel Tasman National Park, Happy Valley Adventures at Cable Bay, plus wineries and art galleries.

The ship was scheduled to berth in Nelson at around 8am, and depart again at 6pm the same day.

Ms Keene said Nelson Tasman Tourism was currently in the process of setting up a specific information desk for cruise passengers and was working with Uniquely Nelson to produce a city retailer's map.

Port Nelson was to host a farewell function for passengers as as they re-joined the ship.

Nelson Tasman Tourism international marketing manager Loren Heaphy said it was important that cruise passengers had a wonderful experience in Nelson Tasman and all efforts would be made to create a lasting impression that would encourage more cruise ships to visit.

"We are eager to develop this important sector and the easiest way to attract more cruise ships is by providing a first class experience for those we already have visiting," Mrs Heaphy said.

The cruise ship visits are the result of a "significant joint marketing effort" by Nelson Tasman Tourism and Port Nelson.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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