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P&O Cruises to Launch Superliner in Auckland

October 16, 2009

P&O Cruises to Launch Superliner in Auckland

Pacific Pearl

P&O Cruises today announced it will launch its next superliner, Pacific Pearl, in Auckland in an historic move which recognises the growing popularity of cruising in New Zealand.

The 63,500-tonne, 1800-passenger ship will be christened in Auckland Harbour on 19 December next year before commencing a six-cruise summer season from the city.

Speaking in Auckland at the launch of the 2009-10 cruise season, Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia and New Zealand, which operates P&O Cruises, said Pacific Pearl’s debut would represent the first time the cruise line had launched one of its ships in New Zealand.

“Given New Zealand is driving so much of our growth we thought it only fitting that the fourth ship for our expanding fleet, Pacific Pearl, should be launched in Auckland,” Ms Sherry said.

Ms Sherry said that while cruising was already making a significant contribution to the New Zealand economy, the company planned to boost that further as it built on the popularity of New Zealand as a cruise destination as well as New Zealanders’ growing interest in cruise holidays.

This morning’s arrival of Princess Cruises’ megaliner, Star Princess, marks the start of the New Zealand cruise season which will see Carnival Australia bring a record 52,000 passengers to New Zealand on 11 ships sailing for five of its brands - P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard, P&O World Voyages and Yachts of Seabourn.

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Between them the ships will make a total of 158 port visits, 50 percent up on last season and three times the number of visits made just five years ago.

“New Zealand is a cruise passenger’s dream. The fabulous diversity of the scenery, from forests to fjords, the reputation for world-class food and wine and the growing understanding and appreciation of what cruise tourism means for the economy makes for a fantastic destination,” Ms Sherry said.

Ms Sherry said New Zealand port owners, government and other industry stakeholders needed to play a part if the country’s full potential as a cruise destination was to be maximised.

“Over the past year, cruising has proven remarkably recession-resistant. As the world economy starts to recover, I believe we are in for sustained growth. If New Zealand is to capitalise on that growth, it needs the right infrastructure and planning in place.

“It is extremely encouraging to see the Prime Minister taking on the Tourism portfolio, a move that sends a powerful signal. It’s equally exciting to hear the plans New Zealand has for developing Queens Wharf, which I hope Carnival Australia can play a role in.”

Pacific Pearl, which is presently sailing in the UK, will be refurbished before joining P&O Cruises’ existing fleet of Pacific Dawn and Pacific Sun as well as Pacific Jewel, which will debut in Sydney this December.


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