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Giant gem glistens in New Zealand

13 January 2006

Giant gem glistens in New Zealand

New Zealand’s love affair with giant cruise ships continues this summer with the maiden visit of Diamond Princess, which is to be based in Australasian waters for an extended four-month season.

Diamond Princess’ programme marks the third consecutive - and longest - summer season for a Princess Cruises megaliner in Australasian waters, underlining the growing popularity of big ship cruising.

The 116,000-ton Diamond Princess is a twin sister to Sapphire Princess, which broke the record as the biggest liner ever to visit New Zealand last summer. In 2003, the liners’ ‘little’ sister, the 109,000-ton Star Princess, visited New Zealand as the first liner here to break through the 100,000-tonne mark.

The US-based Diamond Princess is offering 10 cruises – one from Asia to Australia, eight between Australia and New Zealand and one from Australia back to the US - and makes 39 calls to New Zealand ports from January to April, 2006.

Inaugural visits by Diamond Princess to New Zealand this summer include Fjordland on January 15 2006, Dunedin (January 16), Christchurch (January 17), Tauranga (January 19) and Auckland on January 20.

She continues on a series of eight 12-night voyages between New Zealand and Australia, visiting Auckland five times, Tauranga and Christchurch eight times, and Dunedin and Fjordland nine times. She returns to the US via the South Pacific on April 14.

“Big ship cruising is popular here amongst New Zealanders and Americans,” says Princess Cruises New Zealand Manager Shannon Currie. “Megaliners like Diamond and Sapphire Princess give passengers a big choice in dining, entertainment and activities, more balcony cabins, great value-for-money and a real sense of excitement.

“To meet growing demand, the liners are getting bigger and the seasons here are getting longer. The cruise boom shows no sign of waning.”

More than 2½ times the size of the Titanic and sporting Star Trek-like bridges and jet-engine-style pods on their funnels, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess each carry 2,700 passengers and have 13 bars and lounges, 10 restaurants and cafes, eight jacuzzis, five pools, two nightclubs including one suspended over the ship, a wedding chapel, mini golf course, a spa sanctuary and 1,337 cabins – 750 of them with their own private balcony.

Princess Cruises has introduced special fly/cruise packages for Sapphire Princess’ season here next summer. Fares are available from:

- NZ $5,730 per person for a 20-night Christmas and New Year voyage departing December 20, 2006, from Singapore bound for Sydney, including the flight from Auckland to Singapore and return to Auckland from Sydney.
- NZ $3,046 per person for one of eight 12-night cruises between Sydney and Auckland, including the one-way flight between both cities
- NZ $8,172 per person for a 29-night voyage from Sydney to Los Angeles, sailing on April 17, 2007, including the flight to Sydney and from LA back to Auckland.

Fares are twin-share and include all onboard meals and entertainment, airport to ship and are subject to availability. Conditions apply.

To book a holiday on Diamond or Sapphire Princess visit a travel agent, call Princess Cruises on 0800 95 12 00 or visit


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