A massive cruise season for Dunedin is set to start today and tourism operators think the city is up to the challenge.
Sun Princess arrives in Port Chalmers at 7.15 a.m. today, signalling the start of cruise ship season expected to bring 87 cruise ships to the city with a total capacity of 250,000 people.
This includes December 22 when two ships - one of them the largest cruise ship to visit New Zealand, Ovation of the Seas - are set to arrive, making it the city's busiest day for cruise ship visits.
The total passenger capacity for the season represented an almost 40% increase on last season's passenger numbers. The biggest challenge this year was the size of the ships coming and the number of days when two ships were in port. This included December 22 when about 8500 passengers were expected to cross its wharves.
The port had made a ''sizeable investment'' to improve its facilities for season 2016. This included construction of a permanent facility to house disembarked passengers. The facility houses an information centre, a lounge area with free Wi-Fi and toilet facilities.
It was also in the process of installing six new bollards, which could each hold 150 tons as opposed to the previous 70 tons, and two ''breast line'' bollards so it could accommodate much larger ships.