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New Dawn Marks Start of Summer Cruising Season

October 19, 2008

New Dawn Marks Start of Summer Cruising Season

Wellington's economy is set to get a half-million dollar boost when Princess Cruises' Dawn Princess, makes her maiden visit to Wellington tomorrow morning (Monday 20 October), marking the start of the summer cruise season.

The 77,000-tonne ship will be the first of nine Carnival Australia ships expected to bring a record 35,461 passengers and more than $40 million in economic benefits to New Zealand between now and April 2009.

The record number of passenger numbers represents an impressive 20 per cent increase compared to the 2007-08 cruise season and further underlines the growing popularity of the nation's ports.

A further 9 port calls will be made by Carnival Australia ships to Wellington between now and April next year, making it one of New Zealand's favourite cruise destinations.

Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said Dawn Princess and her sister ship Sun Princess, which both carry up to 2000 passengers, will be frequent visitors to New Zealand shores during the coming season, with seven 13-night voyages scheduled from Australia.

Meanwhile, the stunning 115,000 tonne Diamond Princess - the largest luxury ship to be based in Australasian waters this cruise season - will visit New Zealand from December as part of her six-cruise programme.

"New Zealand has always been a favourite destination for our cruise passengers, but interest this year has really jumped. It seems Australians are realising that cruising is a very comfortable and easy way to explore their closest neighbour," Ms Sherry said.

"Basing an unprecedented three superliners in Australia for the coming season gives us the opportunity to offer exciting new local cruising itineraries, allowing more Australian and New Zealand passengers to experience the romance of cruising with Princess Cruises."

Ms Sherry said Carnival Australia cruise ships would make 90 calls at New Zealand ports this season, a significant increase in passenger numbers compared to the 73 calls made by seven Carnival Australia ships during the 2007-08 cruise season.

"This is our biggest cruise season yet in New Zealand, with 90 visits to eight different ports on the New Zealand coast - Auckland, Dunedin, Tauranga, Raratonga, Napier, Christchurch, Wellington and Bay of Islands," Ms Sherry said.

Dawn Princess also revives the connection between Princess Cruises and TV series The Love Boat. The hit series, which is widely credited with triggering a boom in the popularity of cruise holidays, was filmed aboard Princess Cruises ships in ports around the globe, and the six original cast members re-united to christen Dawn Princess when she was launched.

After calling at Wellington, Dawn Princess will visit Christchurch and Dunedin on her way to Australia.

She will return to Wellington on December 11 on her first cruise to New Zealand from Sydney, having visited Dunedin and Christchurch on her way to, Napier, Tauranga and Auckland before sailing north to call at the Bay of Islands on her return journey to Australia.

ENDS

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