New Zealand cruise ship season shaping up to be a bumper summer

The cruise ship season has kicked off in Wellington a little earlier than expected.

A ship that was bound for Auckland made a last-minute change to the capital due to the rough weather up north.

The tourism industry says this is just the start of what's shaping up to be a bumper summer.

The Ovation of the Seas berthed in Wellington with thousands of passengers from all over the world.

Their arrival marks the start of the cruise season for Pōneke, but the vessel was actually supposed to dock in Auckland.

"There was too much wind and bad weather basically so we decided to go to Wellington," said Ovation of the Seas captain Espen Bean.

Luckily, the bad weather up north didn't dampen their spirits.

"We've read nothing but great stuff so now we get to experience it," one passenger told Newshub.

With 106 cruise ship visits planned for Wellington this summer, more than 200,000 cruise ship passengers are expected to descend on the capital, providing a much-needed economic boost to the region.

"In 2019 the cruise sector was worth $56 million to the economy and we're expecting close to $50 million this season," Wellington City Council economic wellbeing manager Anna Calver said.

Much of the country is expected to benefit with more than 1000 cruise ship visits planned nationwide.

"We are up 14 percent than pre-COVID already so we've really bounced back, this season is going to be so vibrant," NZ Cruises Association deputy chair Debbie Summers said.

So expect to see more cruise ships at ports across the country.