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Cruise season set for record year
A record-breaking cruise season is under way with the Dawn Princess arriving in Auckland on Saturday.
Port satisfaction surveys undertaken by cruise lines showed New Zealand cruise regions delivered an outstanding season in 2011/2012, with New Zealand ports scoring well above 85% for most lines.
Regions around New Zealand have embraced cruise over the years and many of them deliver a great destination experience, the Tourism Industry Association says.
At the 2012 TIA Summit this week, Ann Sherry, chief executive of Carnival Australia, which operates a combined fleet of cruise ships including P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line, highlighted a number of New Zealand regions for embracing cruise.
She praised Bay of Islands for its ambassador programme and Maori welcome; Picton for its flower ladies who welcome passengers with corsages; and Napier whose residents come out dressed in period outfits and their classic cars to farewell passengers.
Tour groups re-enter Christchurch CBD
On Monday, overseas tour groups will stay in central Christchurch for the first time since the February 2011 earthquake.
AAT Kings will use the newly-opened Ibis Christchurch to accommodate its guests at the start or end of all its Best Buys’ South Island guided tours.
Travellers will also have the option to stay an additional night there at a special rate pre or post their touring experience.
“It’s a significant landmark for AAT Kings but more importantly for our passengers and the people of Christchurch,” AAT Kings New Zealand operations manager Bruce Gentry says.
“We are able to give our guests a clear understanding and education into the impact of last February’s earthquake, while also helping support the rebuild of Christchurch.”
More seats on North American flights
Air New Zealand will add approximately 5000 return seats a month to North America as it further increases capacity to San Francisco, Vancouver and Los Angeles from April 2013.
The airline will operate daily return flights on the Auckland-San Francisco route, and increase from five times a week.
Auckland to Los Angeles will also increase, with twice daily flights from April, compared with 12 flights per week at the same time this year. A third Los Angeles flight one day a week will operate in peak demand periods around the July and October school holidays.
The additional capacity will replace more than 75% of the seats lost from the California market earlier this year following the exit of Qantas
The Auckland to Vancouver route will also be boosted in capacity with three return services per week in off peak periods (previously two). Flights will operate five times a week over peak demand times from mid December to the end of February.
Kangaroo Route returns to Mid-East
Qantas is going ahead with establishing its new Kangaroo Route through Dubai to Europe and the UK, regardless of whether the partnership with Emirates is officially approved.
It announced this week that customers will be able to book flights through Dubai for travel from March 31, 2013. The revised Qantas routes, Sydney-Dubai-London and Melbourne-Dubai-London, come as Australian authorities consider the proposed Qantas-Emirates partnership.
The airlines says the schedule changes do not involve coordination between the airlines and do not require official approval.
"The proposed partnership with Emirates will offer Qantas customers one-stop access to more than 30 destinations in Europe compared with the five we offer now,” says the CEO of Qantas International, Simon Hickey.
"The Kangaroo Route used to pass through the Middle East on its way from Australia to London and now it will again," he added.