Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said it will open an office in New Zealand to cater to an increasing number of cruisers from New Zealand. The office is due to open April 1.

The move follows RCCL's establishment of an office in Australia in December 2008. The Australia office will oversee the one in New Zealand.

"New Zealanders are avid cruise enthusiasts," said Gavin Smith, managing director of Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia. "In 2008, nearly 40,000 New Zealanders went on a cruise, compared with 30,215 in 2007.

The New Zealand office will be run by Mark Kinchley, who has previously worked with Royal Caribbean in the U.K., where his main role was to introduce automated reservation tools to U.K. and European travel agents.

The U.K.-born Kinchley immigrated to New Zealand in 1996 and was previously general manager of Insight Vacations and Abercrombie & Kent. Most recently, he worked with EuroVista Holidays.

Related to the move, RCCL has acquired part of Cruise Vacations, an Auckland-based general sales agent that has represented the company's cruise brands in New Zealand since 1990.

In Australia, Royal Caribbean International has one ship, the Rhapsody of the Seas. In October, the Radiance of the Seas will begin cruising in that market, giving the line two ships in Australia.

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