Super City gets its own quick superliner

By Yvonne Tahana

Captain Charlie Carr is impressed by his new ship's speed. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Captain Charlie Carr is impressed by his new ship's speed. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The Pacific Pearl's captain can't wait to let his superiors know how quickly P&O Cruises' newest superliner cuts through the seas.

Yesterday, Ngati Whatua welcomed the 63,500 tonne ship, which is the first superliner to make Auckland its home port.

Captain Charlie Carr brought the ship, which underwent a multimillion-dollar refit, from Singapore.

He said he was delighted at how how well the Pacific Pearl, the fourth in the fleet, handled the conditions.

The ship hit a top speed of 23 knots.

"She's the fastest ship in the fleet now. I'll be sending the commandant a note stuck on the bottom of his Christmas card," Captain Carr said.

"I never knew this ship would go this fast, it was fantastic."

The ship has a new digital propulsion system and the hull has been coated with silicone paint to reduce friction and save fuel.

Ann Sherry, the chief executive of Carnival Australia which operates P&O, said the ship would be worth $18 million to the New Zealand economy during the 2011 season.

The growing demand from New Zealanders for cruises had led to the company's decision to base the ship in Auckland.

"All indications are that this growth will continue, which is why we decided to introduce our latest ship in New Zealand as a sign of our commitment to this market."

Olympic gold-medallist Barbara Kendall was recognised as the ship's godmother, and will officially name the ship tomorrow.

Powhiri formalities were moved indoors yesterday because of the wet weather but the boardsailor said she thought it boded well.

Wild weather always meant a good day in the elements, she joked.

The official naming ceremony starting at 5pm will include a free family festival at Queens Wharf featuring singers Dane Rumble and Stan Walker.

OUR GIRL PEARL

* 63,500 tonnes
* 247 metres long
* 35.2 metres breadth
* Draft 8.2 metres
* 1800 passengers
* Three restaurants, eight bars and lounges, spa, two swimming pools plus swim-up bar, show lounge, four children's centres, casino, duty free shopping

On an average cruise:

* 80 tonnes of food and drink are consumed
* It is cooked by 120 chefs, cooks and bakers
* They make 8600 meals a day

- NZ Herald

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