Video: Dawn arrival of Pacific Aria cruise ship at Auckland as record season approaches

It may have been as wintery as it gets, but a huge sign that summer isn't far away sailed into Auckland's Waitemata Harbour early on Monday morning.

The Pacific Aria, a P&O cruise ship, arrived just as the sun began to rise at around 7 am.

The cruiseliner's August arrival is a prime example of the massive growth taking place in Aotearoa's cruising industry. 

Video: Dawn arrival of Pacific Aria cruise ship at Auckland as record season approaches
Photo credit: Newshub.

Figures released by Stats NZ last year show in the year ending June, 2018, $434 million was spent on cruises.

Those figures showed an increase of nearly 20 percent on the amount spent in 2017.

The industry saw massive growth in the number of Kiwis cruising to Australia in the same period, with 13,264 people taking to the Tasman Sea - up 112 percent from 2016.

Pacific Aria may be a bit smaller than some of the other giant cruiseliners around the world, but its onboard experience matches the offerings of its bigger sisters of the sea.

It has 630 rooms, 352 of which have an ocean view. There's eight bars and nightclubs onboard, as well as a casino and a comedy club.

Video: Dawn arrival of Pacific Aria cruise ship at Auckland as record season approaches
Photo credit: Stats NZ

Salt Grill by Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan is one of the 16 eating options on the Pacific Aria. There's also a cellar door showcasing wines of the world, and offering wine masterclasses as well.

The Pacific Aria will have an extended season based out of Auckland, with experiences around New Zealand and the Pacific already on sale.

One of the journeys on offer is a 14 night round-trip cruise departing Auckland and including calls to Norfolk Island, Nuku'alofa, Vava'u, a cruise by the Mutiny of the Bounty site, Suva, Port Denarau and Dravuni Island.

P&O's new extended New Zealand programme will also include a four-night cruise to Napier and three themed cruises, including a four-night comedy cruise from Auckland to Sydney.

Newshub.

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