The largest cruise ship ever to visit Tauranga sailed in on Monday, December 26, at 6:20 a.m., welcomed by thousands of spectators gathered on Mauao and Pilot Bay.
As the luxury mega vessel rounded the corner of Mauao, twice bellowing its horn in greeting, sightseers audibly gasped at the sheer size of it. People waved and cheered as it passed.
Ovation of the Seas is longer than 3 rugby fields, weighs 168,660 gross register tonnes and carries 4762 passengers.
Even when still out at sea it looked massive, he said, and up close it was an amazing sight.
The Royal Caribbean ship included surfing and skydiving simulators, bumper cars, robotic bartenders and a rock climbing wall.
Once docked the Bay of Plenty Times spoke with passengers getting off to enjoy Mt Maunganui and Tauranga.