The Island Passage built by Challenge Marine for an Auckland-based luxury cruise business is the largest charter vessel ever launched in New Zealand, according to the Nelson Mail newspaper.
The 43m catamaran can cater for 200 day passengers and 23 overnight passengers. Cabins include ensuites, plasma televisions and DVD and CD players.
The luxury vessel also has a bar, a lounge, a library, and a helicopter pad for dropping off and picking up passengers part-way through cruises.
Island Escape Cruises general manager Paul Mabee said Challenge Marine was chosen to do the work because of its experience and good reputation.
“This was an unusual project that involved a lot of thinking outside the square, and that’s why they got the job.”
Mr Mabee said it would cost pleasure-seekers an average of $700 to $800 a night to go on one of Island Passage’s fishing cruises in the Hauraki Gulf.
From the end of January, it would begin offering five-night cruises from Sunday to Friday, while targeting the wedding and corporate functions market on weekends.
In winter, the catamaran was likely to sail to Fiji or Tonga and offer cruises there, focused on light sport fishing and ecological tours.