SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- The Sky Princess left the Princess Cruises fleet in 2000 to become P&O Australias PacificSky, but it didnt leave the family. Princess will be selling space on the vessels 2006 Southeast Asia season under an arrangement with its sister brand.

Unlike the airlines, which interline and codeshare, cruise lines dont normally sell each others inventory -- a notable exception being Carnival Corp.s Princess family.

For several years, Princess has sold cabins on P&O Cruises world cruises, which have their main market in the U.K. And P&O Australia handles bookings for Australian agents who want to book clients on Princess Cruises and Cunard Line.

Cruise lines often rely on a general sales agent (GSA) to handle agent bookings in foreign countries. Princess and Cunard, for example, use Discover the World Marketing of Scottsdale, Ariz., for marketing and sales in South America. But in the U.S., Princess acts as a GSA to many of its sister brands, said Jan Swartz, senior vice president of sales for Princess and Cunard.

We always look at our sister companys brands to see if there are particular pieces that would have appeal to a North American market, Swartz said. Our intent is to make the introduction to the North American market as easy as possible.

Some of the Princess res agents are trained on the new P&O Australia product in Asia, which is alternating seven-day cruises from Singapore between February and November 2006. The eastern Asia cruises call at Ko Samui and Bangkok, Thailand, and Kuantan, Malaysia. The western itinerary visits Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi, Malaysia; and Phuket, Thailand.

The cruises will be primarily sold by P&O Australia and marketed mostly to an Australian crowd. But if Americans want to cruise to Asia and pay in Australian dollars onboard the Pacific Sky, Princess said it would be happy to facilitate that.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

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