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Sapphire sales shine

Sapphire sales shine

The spectacular maiden New Zealand visit of Princess Cruises' giant Star Princess has led to unprecedented demand for big-ship cruising, with a 350% increase in bookings for her big sister, Sapphire Princess.

On the back of the 109,000 ton Star Princess' sell-out season last summer, more than 2000 Australasian passengers have already booked on the 116,000 ton Sapphire Princess' New Zealand and Australian itineraries for next summer.

P&O Cruises' business development manager Shannon Currie said publicity surrounding Star Princess' visit had also flowed on for P&O Cruises' local premium ship Pacific Princess.

"Pacific Princess bookings are up by more than 100% compared with the same time last year. We're seeing strong bookings from new passengers, as well as a high level of repeat business, with new cruises to Queensland, Tasmania and New Zealand attracting past passengers eager to experience different itineraries and ports.

"With its stylish décor, superior service, choice of restaurants and luxury spa facility, Pacific Princess really is the cruise alternative to a luxury resort, but can provide much better value" he said.

"The introduction of so many new itineraries and destinations for Pacific Princess means Kiwis now have even more choice when it comes to experiencing world-class cruising close to home."

Mr Currie said that the success of Sapphire Princess' bookings in New Zealand was representative of the cruise market boom around the world.

"According to industry figures, a record 11 million people around the globe will take a cruise this year and more than 250,000 Australasian passengers are tipped to take a cruise in 2005. The international cruise industry is now a NZ$45 billion industry and growing up to three times faster than the general travel industry."

For those keen to sail on the biggest cruise ship to visit New Zealand, Sapphire Princess voyages still available include:

· A 12-night Auckland to Sydney cruise departing 30 January 2005 from NZ$2,846 per person
· Bangkok to Beijing for 16 nights departing 26 March 2005 from NZ$3,654 per person.

On Pacific Princess a 10-night voyage to Tropical North Queensland departing 18 November 2004, or a 10-night cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu departing 9 January 2005, each start at NZ$2711 per person travelling ex-Sydney.


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