P&O Cruises has extended its New Zealand cruise season following a sell-out response this year.
P&O Cruises’ Pacific Sun returned to Auckland this week to mark the end of a two-month season in which she carried 12,000 Kiwis on 70 calls to 17 different ports throughout the South Pacific.
The 2009 cruise season was a sell-out for for the cruise line, with a 20 percent growth in the number of families travelling on each cruise.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises in New Zealand, said the decision to base Pacific Sun out of Auckland for a record four-month season next year reflected the increasing popularity of cruising among New Zealanders.
“This is our third, and biggest, season from New Zealand and we will offer something for everyone, as well as directly contribute $9 million to the local economy,” Ms Sherry said.
“As well as extending next season, we’re moving the season forward to April which will mean warmer weather for our New Zealand passengers.
“We’re also very excited about the new 12-night voyages to Norfolk Island, an historic destination for P&O Cruises as our first port of call almost 77 years ago.”
“The support for cruising in the local market has meant that P&O Cruises has been able to invest in improving and expanding our fleet from two ships to four ships by late next year.
“This rapid expansion also provides extra opportunities for the technical staff, senior officers and security personnel that we recruit from New New Zealand.”
P&O Bookings for the 2010 season are already looking strong with last week recording the strongest level of sales for a season still nine-months away.
Cruise NZ Chairman Craig Harris says despite the economic climate hitting many travel and tourism businesses hard, the $174 million cruise industry is in good shape and looking forward to a bright future.
“The addition of the second dedicated cruise terminal at Queens Wharf will be timely to cater for what has become New Zealand’s fifth largest inbound tourism market,” Mr Harris said.