Venture into Downtown Mount Maunganui and you’re greeted with the energy and excitement of a bustling main street.
The smell of fresh roasted coffee and delicious food aromas from restaurants and cafés drift through the air, and shopping bags are filling. It’s a prime shopping and dining hub for the Bay’s shoppers.
But among the vibrant strip of shops and eateries is a hidden gem in the heart of it all. Just a step off the main street, at 169 Maunganui Rd, is The Cruise Deck.
A warm and inviting sanctuary of boutique shops and cafes tucked away from the hustle and bustle.
“Our customers love it,” says En Jay hair salon owner and manager Nicky Robertson. “We’re downtown the mount in the main shopping hub, but we’re privately situated. My clients like that they can come and have their hair done and be able to relax away from the main street.”
En Jay hair salon has been on The Cruise Deck for nine years. Clients can step out onto The Cruise Deck in style after enjoying a free, eye-to-eye consultation from a stylist who listens to your lifestyle needs before cutting your hair and a stress-relieving aromatherapy scalp massage at no cost.
“Our motto is, ‘The experience of hair’,” says Nicky. A motto with two meanings. “I’ve been hairdressing for about 20 years, so I bring a lot of experience. And the experience the clients receive from the moment they walk in the door, to the moment they leave. We try to make more a of a luxury experience.”
And to compliment a good haircut is a great outfit. Lemonade Fashion on the Deck has been on The Cruise Deck since March, but they’re getting ready for their busiest season. The warmer seasons call for a new outfit or two – and Cathy Powell of Lemonade Fashion on the Deck recommends peach, pinks and patterns.
“Be bold and mix and match patterns and plains. You can wear stripes with checks as long as it’s matched with a plain top or bottom.”
The perfect outfit for soaking up the sun while enjoying morning or afternoon tea on The Cruise Deck is a trendy little number: “White three-quarter pants with a flowy blue chiffon top”.
Of course, the fashion store has plenty more outfits to choose from for women aged 30-plus.
“We have corporate outfits, smart-casual wear, as well as shoes, jewellery and bags. We have a new range of sandals and jandals arriving too.”
And if you’re not sure what looks best, customer service is their number one priority.
From beauty and fashion to works of art, The Cruise Deck is also home to Creating Waves, which sells New Zealand art created by Kiwis to supply exclusive artwork to the Bay.
Michael and Kathy Sass make a large percentage of the shop’s art and craft.
Michael is a realism painter, who sells art prints of his work on canvas as well as framed and ready-to-hang originals.
Kathy makes crystal jewellery with Swarovski elements, designer greenstone necklaces, paua jewellery – using only New Zealand paua – and steampunk jewellery.
The majority of the other art and craft is created by Bay of Plenty artists, while a small percentage comes from further afield in New Zealand.
The couple started Creating Waves on The Cruise Deck in September 2015 and business has exceeded all expectations.
Also on The Cruise Deck are the cruise specialists – House of Travel Mount Maunganui.
Manager Shelley Rich says House of Travel Mount Maunganui is fast becoming the preferred agency for Mount travellers having recently celebrated their fifth birthday on The Cruise Deck. “The location of House of Travel is very appropriate given the team is known for their specialist knowledge and expertise of worldwide cruising.
“They’re constantly updating their skills and knowledge to provide you with the best holiday experience.”
This year the team, alongside House of Travel Papamoa, was awarded the top cruise outlet at the 2016 annual House of Travel awards.
They also specialise in UK and Europe holidays, so if this is on your travel list for 2017, Shelley says now’s the time to take action and start booking so you can make the most of early bird savings. “Some of the airfares out this year are the best I’ve seen in more than 20 years in travel.”
They’re the experts in holiday cruises, while Blur Eyecare are specialists in unique, comprehensive, expressive and innovative eyewear.
“We have a unique range of glasses from all around the world which we have personally selected for their style, function and quality,” says Stuart Laing of Blur Eyecare.
“We remain staunchly independent to bring our client base an offer that is totally different and unique.” Stuart says the team enjoy their location tucked away from the main street. In their opinion, Central Business Districts and main streets must morph into a mix of high-end boutiques and high-quality eateries like The Cruise Deck to provide the public with a reason and a value proposition to visit.
“Our cities are changing and our boutiques should band together and centralise. The Cruise Deck provides great potential going forward to emulate the feel of some great city laneways.”
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