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Third Cruise Ship for P&O Cruises


Third Cruise Ship for P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises today announced plans for a massive expansion with the addition of a third cruise ship to its Australasian fleet.

The move more than doubles P&O Cruises' commitment to the Australasian market, taking its annual cruise passenger numbers from 61,000 to 150,000.

Under the expansion, P&O Cruises' ships will make more frequent visits to New Zealand waters. The number of New Zealanders sailing the South Pacific on P&O Cruises' ships is expected to double to more than 10,000.

The latest ship - presently sailing as Jubilee in the US-based Carnival fleet - will join the popular Pacific Sky to offer South Pacific Cruises.

The largest cruise ship to be based in Australasia year-round, the 47,262 ton Jubilee will be renamed and will undergo a multi-million dollar refit before commencing cruises from Australasia in October 2004.

P&O Cruises also operates the premium Pacific Princess for a six-month season of South Pacific cruises each year.

Announcing the expansion, P&O Cruises Managing Director Gavin Smith said the introduction of a third cruise ship followed the recent dual company listing of P&O Princess with Carnival Corporation.

"This move acknowledges the continuing growth and strong potential of the Australian and New Zealand cruise market and builds on the runaway success of Pacific Sky since her debut here in November 2000," Mr Smith said.

He said the 1900-passenger Jubilee1, together with the 1550-passenger Pacific Sky2, will offer a range of seven to 14-night South Pacific cruises, sailing to destinations in New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Tonga and Australia year-round.

Mr Smith said the addition of a third ship will enable P&O Cruises to make more visits to New Zealand and to extend the seasonal deployment of Pacific Sky in New Zealand. Meanwhile, the latest ship will feature a season of cruises from Brisbane for part of the year.

"Both ships will deliver a fun, easy-going holiday experience to their passengers - they really will be the fun ships of Australasia," Mr Smith said.

He said the expansion reinforced the market leadership of P&O Cruises, which has been offering cruises to Australians and New Zealanders for more than 70 years.

"In fact our commitment to this market has grown more than four-fold in five years. In 1999 we carried 35,000 passengers on South Pacific cruises. When Pacific Sky was introduced in 2000 that number grew to more than 50,000. The debut of Pacific Princess in 2002 took passenger numbers to 61,000 and when Jubilee arrives that number will surge to 150,000."

The Swedish-built Jubilee, which entered service in May 1986, currently operates four- and five-day Mexico sailings from Galveston, Texas, and will begin a seven-day Caribbean cruise program from San Juan in September.

It has eight passenger decks, three restaurants, a health and fitness facility, and 10 bars and lounges, including a 1000-seat multi-level theatre. Other features include three swimming pools - one with a 115-foot-long water slide - a casino, a library, an Internet café and a children's play room.

Mr Smith said an announcement on the naming of the ship will be made soon, while a brochure detailing the ship's first Australasian season will be launched in October this year.

Background:

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of 13 cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Windstar Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Ocean Village, Swan Hellenic, AIDA, A'ROSA, and P&O Cruises Australia.

Together, these brands operate 68 ships totaling more than 105,800 lower berths, with 15 new ships scheduled for delivery between now and mid-2006. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates three riverboats on Europe's Danube River and the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

1. Jubilee carries 1486 passengers in lower berths and 1900 when all upper berths are occupied.

2. Pacific Sky carries 1200 passengers in lower berths and 1550 when all upper berths are occupied.

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