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Thousands Celebrate as Pacific Pearl is Named

Thousands Celebrate as Pacific Pearl is Named

Thousands of people turned out in Auckland last night to celebrate the naming of P&O Cruises' latest addition to its fleet, the superliner Pacific Pearl.

Queens Wharf was packed with people as P&O Cruises staged a huge Pacific Island Family Christmas Festival to mark the launch of Pacific Pearl, the largest ship ever to be based in New Zealand.

Pacific Pearl will depart on her maiden voyage - an eight-night New Caledonian cruise - this afternoon at 4pm, carrying 1700 passengers.

The highlight of last night’s celebration was the ship’s spectacular naming, with triple Olympic medallist Barbara Kendall raising cheers from the crowd when she officially christened the ship by breaking a magnum of New Zealand bubbles on board.

The naming ceremony was followed by a vibrant fireworks display over Auckland harbour along with performances by singers Dane Rumble and Stan Walker.

"Pacific Pearl is the first of our ships to have been named in New Zealand so this is an incredibly proud moment for us,” said Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises.

"As the largest ship ever based here, Pacific Pearl brings with her a whole new range of features such as a fine dining restaurant and a giant poolside entertainment screen. We think New Zealanders will love what she has to offer.

“Her arrival is testament not only to the past growth of the New Zealand cruise industry but also its potential. This is an exciting, dynamic time for New Zealand’s cruise industry and we’re thrilled to be a driving force in its growth.”

In recognition of Barbara's role as godmother, P&O Cruises has made a substantial donation to her preferred charity, Upside Downs Education Trust.

And with the Pike River Mine tragedy still top of mind, Aucklanders reached deep into their pockets during the evening with a cruise prize raffled. The proceeds are going to Variety – The Children’s Charity in its appeal to help the children of the men tragically lost in the Pike River Mine disaster. A second cruise was auctioned on board the ship at the VIP function, with the proceeds also going to the same charity. A total of $17,000 was raised.

"Our thoughts are with the families of everyone who lost their loved ones at the mining disaster and I would like to thank everyone who supported this cause with their generous donations," Ms Sherry said.

P&O Cruises is also donating the proceeds from its traditional end-of-cruise charity auctions, where the navigational charts used by the Captain and deck officers during the cruise are auctioned to passengers, on all voyages across its fleet during December.

The fourth ship in P&O Cruises’ fleet, Pacific Pearl can carry 1800 passengers and features a giant poolside entertainment screen, a Salt Grill by Luke Mangan restaurant, multiple bars and lounges, including a swim-up bar and an aerial acrobatics rig spanning the width of its pool deck.

ENDS

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