Deployment changes in the works Down Under

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Two cruise lines will alter the deployment of vessels in the South Pacific in 2012-13.

Celebrity Cruises' 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice will replace the 1,814-passenger Celebrity Century, which will cruise Australia and New Zealand in winter 2011-12. The line said the swap "is a symbol of [its] ever-expanding global presence and the popularity of the service, activities, cuisine and stylish design exemplified on its Solstice-class ships."

"Celebrity Solstice has satisfied guests around the world since we introduced her in 2008, and the obvious next step is to send her to Australia," said Dan Hanrahan, president and CEO.

The Celebrity Solstice will transition from a 2012 summer in the Mediterranean to Australia/New Zealand via the Suez Canal and through Southeast Asia before arriving in Sydney in early December. The repositioning sailings will include multiple overnights in ports including Dubai and Cochin, India.

Once in Australia, Celebrity Solstice will operate a series of 12- and 13-night open-jaw sailings between Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand. The season also will include a circumnavigation of Australia, consisting of two open-jaw sailings between Sydney and Fremantle. Many of the itineraries include overnight stays in Sydney.

Holland America Line said it plans to strengthen its commitment to the Australian marketplace by deploying its Vista-class Oosterdam to the South Pacific for the 2012-13 season. The positioning will boost the line's capacity in the region by close to 25%.

The 1,926-passenger Oosterdam will join the 1,432-passenger Volendam, replacing the 1,432-passenger Zaandam. Ten- to 25-day itineraries will be introduced in and around Australia and New Zealand.

HAL said it would open a dedicated sales, marketing and reservations office in Sydney and transition away from a general sales agent arrangement with Travel the World. The Holland America Line Australia organization will reside at the offices of sister brand Carnival Australia and will include an independent sales team as well as marketing, reservations and administrative support for travel agents.

The transition period is expected to be completed by December. All current contracts and groups will remain in effect, the line said.

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