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Cruise lines predict huge growth for NZ in 2006

Cruise lines predict huge growth for NZ in 2006

New Zealand is set to benefit from a surge in cruise ship visits with industry leader Carnival New Zealand planning a 51 per cent hike in its calls to New Zealand ports next year.

Speaking at the Cruise New Zealand annual general meeting in Auckland last week (August 5) Carnival New Zealand representatives said the number of passengers and crews visiting New Zealand on their ships would rise by 26 per cent in 2006.

The cruise line is also predicting a 26 per cent increase in passenger spending at New Zealand ports – up to a whopping $16 million from $12.7 million in 2005.

Carnival New Zealand represents the biggest Australasian cruise line, P&O Cruises, as well as US cruise line Princess Cruises and the UK-based P&O Cruises. It is part of the leading cruise organisation Carnival Corporation & plc.

In New Zealand for a series of meetings with port officials, Princess Cruise’s director of shore operations Bruce Krumrine and Carnival New Zealand’s director of operations Mike Drake told the Cruise New Zealand conference that the country’s cruise industry was booming.

Mr Krumrine said the growth in passenger numbers reflected an increase in inbound cruise passengers visiting New Zealand as well as rises in the number of New Zealanders departing the country on a cruise.

“Of course, we’re absolutely delighted with the growth in cruising to and from New Zealand,” he says. “The rising interest in New Zealand as a destination has been a key driver in our decision to increase the number of our ships that call here.”

In 2005, five ships represented in New Zealand by Carnival New Zealand called at New Zealand ports – Princess Cruises’ Pacific Princess and Sapphire Princess; P&O Cruises’ UK-based Oriana, and P&O Cruises Australasian-based ships Pacific Sky and Pacific Sun.

Mr Krumrine said that in 2006 that number would increase to six.

In addition to a visit by New Zealand’s favourite cruise ship Pacific Sky, Carnival Australia will also bring its newcomer Pacific Star to New Zealand in mid-2006 for her inaugural season of South Pacific voyages from Auckland.

New Zealand will also welcome Aurora and Artemis next year during their world voyages ex-Southampton, as well as Diamond Princess which will be cruising Australasian waters over the summer season with her complement of mostly American tourists.

Pacific Princess is also sailing out of Sydney during summer and is doing three cruises visiting only New Zealand ports.

Mr Krumrine says the six ships will make a total of 72 calls to New Zealand ports in 2006, up 51 per cent on the number of visits made by the company’s ships the previous year.

“That all adds up to more than 70,000 passengers and crew scheduled to cruise to and from New Zealand on our ships next year,” Mr Krumrine says.

Mr Drake says Kiwis are becoming much more aware of cruising.

“We have been very active in promoting cruising here in New Zealand and I think there is a growing awareness of the benefits of a cruise holiday, such as the all-inclusive cost and the absence of hassles like jetlag and constant packing and unpacking,” Mr Drake says.

“This, combined with a growing recognition of New Zealand as a desirable and safe destination, means we are witnessing unprecedented growth in the market here in the South Pacific.”

Chairman of Cruise New Zealand Craig Harris says the high quality of New Zealand ports has also contributed to the growth.

“Local port authorities have really come to the party in helping Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises, along with other cruise lines, to more easily and efficiently deploy their vessels here.

“This visit by Bruce and Mike will really help to co-ordinate and further develop relationships with our maritime and port people.”

ENDS

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