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Fly free for winter island cruising


Fly free for winter island cruising

Winter South Pacific cruising just got more affordable and more accessible for people who live out of Auckland.

This follows the announcement that P&O Cruises has secured New Zealand's first-ever domestic fly-cruise deal with Origin Pacific Airways.

Beginning immediately, people booking on P&O Cruises' Pacific Sky voyages out of Auckland in 2004 will fly free to and from the City of Sails.

Passengers will be able to fly from Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington on Origin Pacific's planes seating between 19 and 64 passengers.

Sales are available until July or until berths are sold out. P&O Cruises says bookings for Pacific Sky are already quite active.

Pacific Sky is the biggest and most modern cruise ship to sail the South Pacific year round, offering New Zealanders fun and affordable, big ship cruising.

Initially the deal covers Pacific Sky voyages out of Auckland in July and August to Pacific Island destinations such as Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

P&O Cruises' New Zealand business development manager Shannon Currie says the fly-cruise deal will make cruising even more affordable for people who live outside Auckland.

"A couple travelling on Origin Pacific's services to connect with our cruises will save considerably on airfares. And cruising is so affordable with all main meals and entertainment included in the fare.

"From our point of view, we expect this deal to greatly expand our market reach into regional New Zealand," Mr Currie says.

"About 75 per cent of our business in New Zealand comes from people who live within four hours' drive of Auckland. Considering all our cruises already depart Auckland at capacity, we expect this deal to really grow the market for P&O Cruises here longer term."

Mr Currie says the agreement with Origin Pacific is initially for three cruises this year and the responses will be assessed at the conclusion of the season.

"Having said that, I'm confident this is a great deal for everyone concerned - passengers, Origin Pacific and ourselves - so I expect we'll be doing the same in seasons to come."

Origin Pacific general manager of sales and marketing Ewan Wilson says the agreement with P&O Cruises demonstrates the value to the country of forming relationships with other travel industry businesses. It is similar to the agreement recently announced with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

"This is great news for provincial New Zealand travellers. It's also a very exciting development for our airline and really opens up a whole new market," Mr Wilson says.

"We pride ourselves on thinking outside the square. And that's exactly what we've been able to do by developing the country's first-ever provincial fly-cruise option."

Mr Wilson says Origin Pacific is the country's only 100 per cent New Zealand-owned airline and with 135 flights every day to 14 destinations it provides new flexibility for travellers.

Mr Currie says people wanting to take advantage of the fly-cruise option can make bookings through P&O Cruises or any travel agent. P&O then books the flights direct with Origin Pacific.

South Pacific 10-night cruises to the sun aboard Pacific Sky start at $1,898 per person quad-share and include all on-board activities including non-stop entertainment and main meals as well as port charges and taxes.

* Bookings or copies of P&O Cruises' 2004 / 2005 Funside brochure for Pacific Sky are available through travel agents or P&O Cruises on 0800 44 17 66 or visit http://www.pocruises.co.nz

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