OREANDA-NEWS. Carnival New Zealand has come out on top for the second year in a row at the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) National Travel Industry Awards.

Awarded the title of Best Cruise Operator in NZ, Carnival New Zealand represents some of the world's best known cruise brands P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises World Cruising and Cunard.

Executive Chairman of Carnival Australia and New Zealand, Ann Sherry, said the accolade reinforced the depth and strength of the company's business in New Zealand and the potential for growth.

"Ocean cruising is increasingly becoming a holiday which appeals to New Zealanders and Carnival New Zealand's brands are leading the growth of the industry in this market and, indeed, the region," Ms Sherry said.

"Our brands, which are some of the best known in the world, are bringing more Australian tourists to New Zealand than ever before as well as taking more Kiwis on cruise holidays both around New Zealand and to Australia and the Pacific Islands."

Illustrating the organisation's commitment to the local market, P&O cruises has just completed its biggest ever New Zealand season following the five-month Auckland deployment of the Pacific Pearl.

Highlights of the season included a special 10-night circumnavigation of New Zealand, featuring P&O's very first visit to Stewart Island, a themed cruise to Napier's world-famous Art Deco festival and a maiden call to the Cook Islands.

More than 34,000 guests were carried across 20 cruises, contributing an estimated $20 million to the economy during the season.

"It is exciting to think about the potential for growth in this market as more Kiwis are introduced to cruising," Ms Sherry said.

Carnival will bring almost 80,000 cruise tourists across the ditch to New Zealand next year, with Princess Cruises being the #1 operator. In fact, two out of three cruises to New Zealand on Princess ships.