Napier is set to play its part in a unique cruise ship visit which could end up staking a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
The Viking Cruises luxury liner Viking Sun has arrived in New Zealand waters on what the company is hoping will rewrite the record books for the longest continuous passenger cruise and is set to arrive at Napier Port, from Tauranga, at 11.45am on Friday.
It will be on the 153rd day of the scheduled 245-day world cruise when it enters Hawke Bay, and for 56 of the 930 passengers aboard it will indeed be their 153rd day aboard — with another 92 to go.
Those passengers, 40 from the USA and Canada, 12 from Australia and four from the UK, signed up for the whole package, and those sort of circle-the-world packages do not come cheaply.
For the fares start at a mere $121,825 for the lowest cabin category aboard — the Veranda Stateroom.
Other passengers have chosen segments of the world cruise to travel on.
The 228m, 47,800 ton liner set sail from Tilbury in London back on August 31 and is due to arrive back there on May 1.
During the giant voyage it will have called at 111 ports in 51 countries across six continents, and among that giant schedule are seven Kiwi stops.
It arrived at the Bay of Islands on Monday and has called at Auckland and Tauranga and is now set to introduce its passengers to the sunshine and heat of the Bay.
It then heads for Wellington at 6pm on Friday evening with later calls at Akaroa and Dunedin, before departing for the Australian leg.
There was never any doubt New Zealand, and spots like Napier, would have to be on the schedule, Viking Cruises managing director for Australia and New Zealand Michelle Black said.
“No true world cruise itinerary would be complete without visiting New Zealand, where stunning landscapes and world-class cities go hand in hand.”
She said since Viking Cruises launched their first ocean ship in 2015 the demand to sail to New Zealand had gone from “strength to strength”.
Thus far, the new record-seeking liner has visited the UK, Scandinavia, Canada, the USA, the Caribbean, South and Central America and a string of Pacific Island nations.
After New Zealand it will be Australia, Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and back to the UK.
Unlike on February 1 in 2018, when strong wind conditions prevented the Viking Sun from entering Napier Port, Friday’s forecast is for fine weather and northwesterly winds dying out, so the record is still on.