Two cruise ships due later this week are Albatros, on its first visit under this name, and Regatta, on its maiden call. They are two of the vessels calling here in what has turned out to be a record cruise-ship season.
Regatta, here for the first time last Saturday, is one of a class of eight sister ships, an ambitious project that ran into financial difficulties before they were all completed and bankrupted their owners, Renaissance Cruises Inc.
It was interesting to see Pacific Dawn and Dawn Princess in port together last Thursday, then Diamond Princess a day later. These three cruise liners illustrate the growth in size of vessels that have represented Princess Cruises locally for just over 11 years.
Last year proved to be a very interesting one with such a large number of vessels calling here for the first time. And the last of these to enter the harbour was the attractive Spirit of Adventure, which was berthed at Port Chalmers last Thursday and Friday.
The visit last Friday by the 77,441gt Sun Princess that marked 50 years of calls to this harbour by international cruise ships, could not have happened at a more appropriate time in the cruise ship calendar.
Polarcus Alima and Jaya Amazon provided something totally different to the waterfront scene at Port Chalmers when they met there by chance, last Wednesday morning.
The cruise ships Celebrity Century, here for the first time last Tuesday, and Radiance of the Seas, on its third visit on Friday, have more than one thing in common. They are from two arms of the Royal Caribbean group and both were built in the covered, state-of-the-art shipbuilding facility of Jos L. Meyer Werft, at Papenburg, on the River Eems, 40km inland from the North Sea.
It was interesting to see the Lauritzen group represented here by a bulk carrier and a tanker within a few days of each other late last month. Both red-hulled vessels were on their maiden visits.
Now a familiar visitor to the port, Holland-America's Volendam makes its 27th visit today. And in two days' time sister ship Zaandam will be making its first appearance here.
Under the heading "Cruise ship bonanza for businesses", the illustration in last Tuesday's Otago Daily Times Special Anniversary Edition shows the famous Queen Elizabeth 2 passing Pulling Point on its first visit on February 4, 1992.
As replacements for the 2824TEU, chartered Cap vessels, Hamburg-Sud has transferred four of its own larger 3630TEU Bahia-class ships to its Trident service this year.
It is interesting to note that while 18 cruise ships that have called here since October 1994 have come from Italian shipyards, vessels flying the Italian flag are seldom seen here.
Since last Saturday week another four vessels, tanker Challenge Procyon and container ships E.R Malmo, Antonia Schulte and MSC Nora, have added their names to the list of vessels visiting the port for the first time.
Sea Princess, which started the cruise season off when it called for the first time 11 days ago, returned to Port Chalmers last Friday. The 77,449gt purpose-built cruise ship was completed at Monfalcone in November, 1998. It perpetuates the name of an earlier unit of the fleet that has been afloat for more than 46 years.
It all started on June 9, 1971, when Claus-Peter Offen bought the small 1932gt, 12-year-old, Norwegian-built Annie Hugo Stinnes at an auction at Hamburg's District Court.
Almost 50 years have passed since overseas cruise ships started calling here with the arrival of Seven Seas at Dunedin on December 23, 1961.
Since the second week of last month, the port has hosted visits by nine container ships calling for the first time, with five appearing over the last eight days. Latest to arrive, yesterday, was Hamburg-Sud's Bahia Castillo.
After the steamer Waimana featured in this column a fortnight ago, the Dunedin waterfront scene that appeared in the ODT the following Saturday (100 years ago - from our archives) could not have come at a more appropriate time. For one of the vessels in the illustration was Rangatira.
The arrival of AP Sveti Vlano at Port Chalmers yesterday is of very special interest. With a gross tonnage of 32,578gt it is the largest vessel to call here to load logs. The handymax bulk carrier is also the first Vietnamese-built vessel to enter this harbour.
One hundred years of change.