Next week Gisborne will host the National Geographic Orion, the first cruise ship visit for the 2023/23 summer season.

It is scheduled to arrive at 8am on 13 November, bringing about 106 passengers and 75 crew members for a day-long excursion.

The Trust’s tourism team has been working closely with Gisborne District Council, Eastland Port and local activity operators to ensure everything runs seamlessly.

Nearly 12,000 passengers are expected to enter Gisborne’s port over 25 cruise visits scheduled through to March next year.

The largest ship is the Noordam which will visit four times, carrying approximately 1900 passengers and 800 crew.

Holly Hatzilamprou, Regional Tourism Manager at Trust Tairāwhiti said while many passengers had booked on-shore experiences with local tourism operators, there would be loads of passengers out and out exploring the city.

“Cruise tourism invigorates our local economy, showcases our unique region to the world, and supports community engagement and cultural exchange. It is a vital part of our regional tourism landscape.”

 Eastland Port Operations Manager Andy Kinsella said, “It's been three years since we've berthed a cruise ship on the wharf due to COVID disruptions and the rebuild of Wharf 7, so we've been eagerly anticipating their return.

 “It will be nice to see some diversification in port and to welcome international passengers back to our awesome new asset.

 “When passengers disembark their berthed vessel they will either hop on a bus or walk off the port and into the city.

 “We’re currently revamping the area in which passengers will transition from the port into the inner harbour, and this transformation will gradually take shape over the next few weeks.

 “Nine cruise ships will berth this season while the remaining 16 will tender into our ‘world-class’ tender berth.”

i-SITE staff, volunteers and tourism operators will be working throughout the season to welcome guests and connect them with local experiences

View the shipping schedule here.