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Cruising horizons broadened

Monday, 24 January 2005

Cruising horizons broadened

P&O Cruises announces summer Auckland base for popular ship

Kiwi cruisers will soon be able to enjoy summer cruising from the City of Sails following an announcement by P&O Cruises that its 1550-passenger Pacific Sky will be based in Auckland for a series of cruises next Christmas.

New Zealand's most popular cruise ship will make four voyages to the South Pacific from Auckland during December 2005 and January 2006.

The new cruise programme represents the first summer season of cruising from Auckland for Pacific Sky, which debuted in New Zealand with a winter program in 2002.

Pacific Sky's new schedule, announced simultaneously in New Zealand and Australia, also includes summer cruises from Singapore and Melbourne on Pacific Sky.

The new itineraries have been made possible by P&O Cruises' decision to introduce a third full-time ship to its Australasian fleet. The 1400 passenger Pacific Star will be based in Brisbane, taking over Pacific Sky's existing cruise schedule.

Shannon Currie, business development manager for P&O Cruises in New Zealand, says the addition of Pacific Sky's summer season will double P&O Cruises' passenger capacity out of New Zealand.

"Kiwis are increasingly taking to cruising and having Pacific Sky here in summer will help us further develop Auckland as a homeport," he says. "It will also introduce more New Zealanders to the pleasures and benefits of a cruise vacation during the busy Christmas-New Year holiday period."

Fares will be priced from NZ$1944 for a 10-night cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Mr Currie says Pacific Sky will be based in Singapore from February to April 2006, offering nine 7-night cruises to popular and exotic destinations including Koh Samui and Bangkok in Thailand and Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi in Malaysia.

The ship will offer two different itineraries, which can be combined to create a 14-night cruise including nine great ports. Non-stop flights to Singapore are available from Auckland and Christchurch.

Mr Currie says the 1,900-passenger Pacific Sun, which debuted in Sydney in November 2004, will continue to cruise year-round to the South Pacific and North Queensland from Sydney.

"Having three ships in the market gives us huge flexibility," he says. "Not only can we offer a greater range of itineraries, we can sail from a wider range of ports in the region.

"Bookings for both Pacific Sky and Pacific Sun have been strong over the past year and we are very confident there is room for more growth in the cruise market. These new cruise programmes will help achieve that growth."

Mr Currie says the three ships will offer a contemporary cruise product and feature great value cruises for couples, families and friends.


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