P&O Cruises starts longest-ever season in New Zealand

P&O Cruises starts longest-ever season in New Zealand
Pacific Pearl will make Auckland home for the next five months

P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Pearl arrived in Auckland on 4 February to start the line’s longest-ever homeporting season in New Zealand.

Named in Auckland in 2010 by Olympian Barbara Kendall, the 1,800-guest Pacific Pearl will be based in Auckland from 4 February to 23 June 2016. During the record five-month deployment, the ship will sail 20 cruises, including eight roundtrips from Auckland and two voyages between Sydney and Auckland. In total, the ship will take guests to 11 different New Zealand ports.

“With the recent addition of two ships to our fleet, we’ve been able to significantly increase our presence in New Zealand to 20 cruises this year, compared to ten in 2015,” said Ann Sherry, executive chairman of Carnival Australia and New Zealand, which operates P&O Cruises. “As a result, this year P&O will more than double the number of passengers we carry on cruises from New Zealand, with a 122% rise over our 2015 numbers, reflecting New Zealanders’ growing passion for cruising.”

Every turnaround cruise ship visit in Auckland is estimated to deliver close to NZ$1 million to the local economy in passenger accommodation, dining, transport and shopping as well as crew expenditure, supplies and port charges. Meanwhile visits to regional cities could contribute up to NZ$500,000 in passenger and crew spending. Overall, the ship’s contribution to the country’s economy is expected to total up to NZ$20 million.

“Auckland is experiencing a record cruise season, which is estimated to deliver NZ$251.7 million to the region,” said Brett O’Riley, chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.

Pacific Pearl’s arrival into Auckland was timed to coincide with the two-day Downer NRL Auckland Nines rugby tournament, and the ship brought almost 1,000 Australians to the city for the event. Adam Blair, Brisbane Broncos team member and New Zealand Kiwis captain, also cruised from Sydney to Auckland on the ship.

“It’s fantastic to see P&O now leveraging one of our city’s major events and bringing Australian rugby league fans on a cruise to experience the Nines and everything else Auckland has to offer,” said O’Riley.

Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
05 February 2016