Auckland celebrated the first day of spring today with the arrival of P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel which will be based in the city for the next two months during her inaugural New Zealand season.
The 70,310 tonne vessel departs the city this afternoon on a three-night Food and Wine cruise and will be followed by a further seven roundtrip cruises from the city, before the ship departs on October 31.
During her maiden season, Pacific Jewel will carry nearly 20,000 guests, including about 15,000 first-time cruisers in a move which will further boost the growth of the New Zealand cruise market.
Families and couples will be among the biggest new-to-cruise segment sailing on Pacific Jewel's mix of short three and four-night breaks and longer itineraries to the South Pacific.
P&O Cruises latest New Zealand season is expected to inject about $8 million into the local economy through guest and crew spending, provedoring and port fees and charges.
The 'new to cruise' passengers will be joined by local food and beverage suppliers including Meadow Mushrooms, lamb specialists Integrated Foods Group, Massimo’s Italian Cheeses and Mission Estate Winery, who will be among 37 New Zealand firms providing fresh produce to the ship.
Pacific Jewel will feature 48 local entertainment artists such as New Zealand-born duo Brentwood who recently found fame on the hit TV show X-Factor in Australia.
P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the cruise line was looking forward to welcoming more first-time cruisers on New Zealand’s only home-ported ship.
“More Kiwis are choosing a cruise holiday than ever before and we want to open the world of cruising up to more families and couples in New Zealand by offering a range of itineraries that cater for all types of travellers,” Mr Myrmell said.
“As New Zealand’s only homeported cruise line, we know it’s important to create a product that features the best local product and talent and that’s why we’re working closely with a record number of local suppliers, growers and musicians during this cruise season.”
Accommodating 1950 guests, Pacific Jewel features almost 200 private balcony rooms and mini-suites, an indulgent spa with panoramic ocean views and a host of great onboard activities including the action-packed P&OEdge Adventure Park. Its many dining options include fine dining at Salt grill by Luke Mangan and contemporary casual eating in the Pantry, a stylish international food market featuring nine fresh food outlets.
Following the spring 2017 season, P&O will return to New Zealand in March 2018 until August 23 to undertake 22 cruises, up from 15 in 2017.