Cruise ship passengers

The Bay of Islands is one of the top cruise destinations in the South Pacific and deservedly so! We’d love to welcome you on board the R. Tucker Thompson so here are some tips to help you work out whether you’ll be able to join us.

Please check our online schedule which shows which days have already been booked out for cruise ship charters.

If you are independently booking from a cruise ship, you need to be aware of your estimated time of arrival in the Bay and your departure times. Please advise us that you are on board a cruise ship, and we can advise you, depending on the published movements. To assist you, we have given some FAQs below..

Email us if you have any questions, otherwise, we look forward to welcoming you on board!

Where do I go to meet the ship?

We sail from Russell Wharf. Cruise ships are tendered into Waitangi Wharf where there is a courtesy coach to take you into Paihia – this is about 5 minutes by bus. Our counter is in the Maritime Building right outside the bus stop. From there, we will give you free ferry tickets to go across to the Russell wharf where the ship will be waiting.

How do I make sure I am in time to meet the sailing?

We depart Russell Wharf at 1000, with the 0930 Bay Belle transferring you over from Paihia. Generally cruise ships will disembark passengers with no booked excursions after those with pre-booked shore trips. Try and get on an early tender but if we know you are coming, we can hold the ship back to catch the 0950 ferry. The important thing is to let us know you are coming – text, phone toll free or email.

How do I make sure I am back in time?

The same as getting there! Generally the last buses back are 1600 or 1615 so we will make sure you are on the ferry in time to get back. If time is tight, we can use our tender to get you back to Paihia in time for the last bus back to Waitangi Wharf.

What happens if the weather is dreadful?

We sail in all weather and sometimes a bit of rain and wind makes for a fantastic day! However if is torrential, we will cancel the sailing and refund in full – after all, there is no point taking you sailing if you are going to have a bad time.

What happens if I miss the sailing?

Provided we know you are coming from a cruise ship, have kept in communication with us, and have made best efforts to get there, we will provide a full refund of your fare.

A number of cruise lines charter the ship exclusively for their passengers. In this instance, the ship is fully booked for that day and we cannot accept your booking directly. You will need to book through your offshore excursions desk. We are often asked why the price is different: this is because they will book the entire ship at boarding times to meet your ship, and also they will tender you directly to Russell Wharf and back.