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.
Cruise ships come and go and, in many cases, because of their frequency each year, they do not always attract widespread interest from the general public. But if they are a queen from the Cunard fleet, they always become a major attraction.
To date, the suffix Princess has been linked to the names of 13 cruise ships that have made 204 visits to Port Chalmers under the P&O or Princess Cruises banners.
The visitors to this harbour that are products of China's expanding shipbuilding industry have increased steadily over the past few years.
Despite being held on a wet English summer day, an event at Southampton earlier this month has been described as grand and memorable.
Having mentioned last week that the container ship Zrin, here on April 5, 2008, is fulfilling a new role as the livestock carrier Nada, its only sister ship to call here arrived at Alang, India, on May 10, and was beached for demolition 11 days later.
They just seem to keep on coming, vessels built in Chinese shipyards in recent years. Latest to arrive for the first time last week, to load logs at Beach St, was Vega Mars. Sister ship Vega Venus berthed at Dunedin a year ago next Saturday to load scrap metal for Indonesia.
During the past 50-60 years there has been a noticeable increase in the size of vessels visiting the upper harbour, with the result that new gross-tonnage (gt) records have often been established.
Time is running out for a Southeast Asian container ship line that has been involved with operations here over two separate periods.
Another interesting assortment of newcomers started last week with the arrival of the Italian-built container ship MSC Rafaela. But this week the focus is on four vessels built in China.
It was a scene never to be repeated at the George St wharf, Port Chalmers, 60 ago this Wednesday (Anzac Day, 1952).
The centenary of the loss of the White Star liner Titanic has been commemorated over the last few days and the 24-year-old, 43,537gt cruise ship Balmoral, here on February 19, 2011, has retraced the course of that tragic maiden voyage of which much has been written and portrayed ever since.
Azamara Quest is the second cruise ship to be disabled by an engine room fire in recent weeks. Until taken in tow, Costa Allegra, on a voyage from Madagascar to the Seychelles, drifted with no power at all for three days in an incident at the end of February.
The very successful, bumper cruise ship season, is coming to a close. Pacific Pearl was in yesterday, Volendam is due tomorrow, and next weekend Regatta and Sun Princess are due back again. Then on April 19, the ship that started the season off on October 13, Sea Princess, will bring it to an end.
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.