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Buoyant Cruise Market Prompts Third Ship

January 5, 2005

Buoyant Cruise Market Prompts Third Ship for P&O Cruises

Continuing strong demand for cruise holidays has prompted P&O Cruises to add a third full time ship to its local Australasian fleet.

To be named Pacific Star, the latest ship will increase P&O Cruises’ capacity by 40 per cent and enable the company to offer an even wider range of cruise itineraries.

Announcing the move today, P&O Cruises Managing Director Gavin Smith said the 1400-passenger Pacific Star would join the Australasian fleet in October 2005. She is presently sailing as Costa Tropicale with P&O Cruises’ sister company Costa Cruises in Europe.

Mr Smith said the decision to introduce Pacific Star followed strong bookings for P&O Cruises’ two existing ships – the 1900-passenger Pacific Sun, which debuted in Sydney in November 2004, and the 1550-passenger Pacific Sky, which moved from Sydney to its new homeport of Brisbane in August 2004.

“While the Australasian cruise market more than doubled in size with the introduction of Pacific Sun two months ago, we are confident there is potential for more growth,” Mr Smith said. “Pacific Star’s size and features make her the ideal ship to take us the next step in our expansion plans.”

He said Pacific Star’s introduction would take the company’s capacity from 3450 beds to 4850 beds.

“Pacific Star is a stylish ship with a very relaxed European feel which we think will be very popular amongst Australian and New Zealand passengers,” Mr Smith said.

The 35,000 ton ship entered service in 1982 and underwent a US$30 million refit in 2001. It offers four dining venues, three swimming pools, extensive open decks, a choice of queen or twin bed configurations in most cabins and a large number of four-bed cabins.

Mr Smith said Pacific Star would offer a “contemporary” South Pacific and Queensland cruise product, similar to Pacific Sun and Pacific Sky. Her itineraries will be released in late January.

He said the transfer of the Costa ship to P&O Cruises’ fleet was an excellent example of the synergies offered by parent company Carnival Corporation & plc, which operates 12 cruise brands worldwide.

Mr Smith said P&O Cruises’ sister line Princess Cruises was also continuing to expand its premium cruise offering in Australasia. The luxurious Pacific Princess would be based in Australia for an extended six-and-a-half month season in summer 2005-06, while the 116,000 ton megaliner Diamond Princess would offer a series of cruises between Australia and New Zealand in early 2006.


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