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Sun Princess arrives in Dunedin
Alex Yovich - 17/12/07

Luxury superliner 'Sun Princess'
Luxury superliner 'Sun Princess'
Photo source: 'Sun Princess'
Click here to view a larger version

The 77,000-tonne luxury superliner Sun Princess's visit to Dunedin is part of a six-port visit that heralds a major new commitment by Carnival Australia, injecting at least $35 million dollars into the New Zealand economy.

The visit follows a recent announcement that Sun Princess and her sister ship Dawn Princess will for the first time be based in Australia resulting in an additional 12 cruises dedicated to New Zealand next season. This new programme represents more than 70 individual port calls to New Zealand during 2008/2009.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates Princess Cruises in Australia and New Zealand, said Sun Princess is likely to generate an average of around $500,000 at each New Zealand port she visits. This includes supplies, port fees and spending by the more than 2800 passengers and crew.

Ms Sherry said Princess Cruises' decision to operate the two superliners full-time in Australasia represented a 600 percent increase in capacity between 2007 and 2009.

"We've been overwhelmed with the response to Sun Princess since we announced her deployment earlier this year. Clearly the time is right for us to operate two premium superliners in the region," Ms Sherry said.

Craig Harris, Chairman of Cruise New Zealand, said the decision to base Sun Princess and Dawn Princess in the South Pacific was fantastic news for the industry.

"We know New Zealand is a hugely-popular destination among Australians and other travellers from around the world. To have two dedicated vessels based in the region can only serve to boost those numbers and present many more options to potential visitors," Mr Harris said.

Mr Harris said the cruise industry had grown hugely in the last eight years, from around 32,000 visitors in the 2000/2001 season, to an expected 111,000 this season. Carnival Corporation is the largest contributor to those numbers, making up approximately 50 percent of the world's cruise market.

Direct expenditure in the country, as a result of New Zealand cruise visits, is estimated by Cruise New Zealand to be around $378 million per year.

Mr Harris said cruise visits were an important way to showcase New Zealand to people who were often seeing the country for the first time. Anecdotal evidence was that they then came back to do a land-based tour at a later date.

The 261m Sun Princess boasts 975 cabins including more than 400 with private balconies. The vessel also features a grand four-storey atrium with a stained-glass dome and glass elevators, eight restaurants and cafes, seven lounges, four pools and five whirlpool spas.

Her New Zealand voyage includes scenic cruising in the Milford Sound, with scheduled calls to Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga and Auckland over the course of a 14-night luxury cruise. Unlike other premium cruise ships, Sun Princess is tailored to the New Zealand market with local entertainment on board as well as shore tours at each New Zealand port she visits.

Bookings are available through travel agents or call Princess Cruises on 0800 95 12 00 or visit www.sunprincess.com.au