Princess became the latest cruise line to pledge an increase in Australia capacity, saying it will base four ships in Australia during the 2011-12 summer season.

The Sea Princess will join the Dawn Princess, Sun Princess and Sapphire Princess for the austral 2011-12 summer.

The the additional capacity will allow the line to base its first ship in Brisbane, where the the Sun Princess will sail from September 2011 until February 2012. The Sun Princess will call in Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan and China.

The Sea Princess will sail to New Zealand, Japan and Tasmania from Sydney, Princess said, joining the Sapphire Princes, which cruises to New Zealand. The Dawn Princess returns to Melbourne, sailing to New Zealand, around Australia and to Tahiti and Hawaii.

In a statement, Princess Cruises President Alan Buckelew said Australian interest in Princess ships was at an all-time high. Citing the success of the Dawn Princess and Sun Princess, he said "the time is right" to introduce the Sea Princess into the Australian market.

Cunard Line recently said the Queen Mary 2 would be based in Australia in 2012 for a circumnavigation of the continent, a first for Cunard, which cited increased demand from Australians.

And Royal Caribbean International said it would deploy two ships to Australia in 2011, adding the Radiance of the Seas out of Sydney. The Radiance will join the Rhapsody of the Seas, currently sailing its third Australian summer season.

Gavin Smith, managing director of Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia, said the additional capacity "is a demonstration of the strength of the local cruise market, and is in response to demand from American, European and Asian visitors to experience Australia and our region onboard our cruise ships."


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