Right from the origin legend of Maui and his fishhook, New Zealand has always been a country focused on the water - with 14,000 kilometres of coastline, it’s understandable. Cruising is a growing industry in the South Pacific, quickly becoming a favourite way to holiday for Australians, and it’s a fun way to get a new perspective on the Land of the Long White Cloud.
The growing number of cruises departing Auckland makes it easy for residents and visitors alike to see the country by ship, and there are also plenty of itineraries which circumnavigate the country with a loop from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. A cruise ship can’t show you all of New Zealand’s natural beauty, but it is an enjoyable and easy way to get an overview of what’s on offer - and it’s affordable too, with accommodation, transport and food costs all rolled into one fare.
Cruises from Auckland
If you’d like to hop onboard in the mini-metropolis that is Auckland, there are quite a few options. Many of P&O’s offerings are excursions into the islands of the South Pacific, but there are a few lines with excellent cruises from Auckland which take in the highlights of New Zealand, some disembarking across the ditch in Sydney.
Princess Cruises is a good option, and the company seems to have a soft spot for New Zealand with plenty of Kiwi itineraries on the books. Their New Zealand cruises out of Auckland are quite comprehensive, lasting around two weeks and including a stop in Melbourne or Sydney. Premium cruise line Celebrity also offers New Zealand-focused cruises from the City of Sails, most of them one-way and ending in Sydney, as does the traditional and elegant line Holland America. Those who would like to take to the waves in complete comfort and style can choose from some luxury boutique lines too - Silversea has a fabulous itinerary taking in New Zealand’s sub antarctic territories which is perfect for the intrepid traveler.
Of course, a cruise from Auckland means you can experience the great activities and attractions the city has to offer before stepping aboard. Visit the War Memorial Museum, browse the chic dining and shopping precinct of Britomart, sit on a terrace in Wynyard Quarter and watch the sails that give the city its nickname, head up the Sky Tower for spectacular views or join in on one of the many events that take place there year-round. There are so many fun things to do in Auckland, and departing on a gorgeous cruise ship is just one of them. Take a look at cruises from Auckland in 2015 and 2016 and start dreaming!
Cruise to New Zealand
Keen cruisers can also make New Zealand their destination, with a departure from one of Australia’s east coast ports. Offered by Princess, Holland America, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and more, New Zealand cruises are generally round trips from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and include all or a selection of the following ports:
- The Bay of Islands in Northland - a sunny holidaymaker’s paradise where visitors can swim with dolphins and try out a range of watersports.
- Auckland, the aforementioned “little big city” with much urban entertainment on offer as ships dock right in the middle of the CBD.
- Tauranga, a friendly and laid-back city home to New Zealand’s answer to Surfer’s Paradise - Mount Maunganui.
- Napier, an art-deco regional centre with fabulous beaches and access to the stunning Hawkes Bay wine region.
- Wellington, referred to by Lonely Planet as the “coolest little capital” in the world, and for good reason - the culture, food and history is impressive.
- Picton, available to the smaller and mid-sized ships, a charming town located in the depths of the gorgeous green Marlborough Sounds.
- Akaroa/Christchurch - ships either call into the port of Christchurch, the resilient Garden City, or Akaroa, a small gallic-influenced town in a scenic harbour on the Banks Peninsula from which tours are available into the city.
- Dunedin, a student city in the deep south set amongst rolling hills and serving as a gateway to the beautiful Otago region.
- Fiordland, a jewel in the crown of all New Zealand cruises. Ships cruise through these stunning drowned valleys to offer passengers a view of some of the country’s most amazing landscapes.
Convinced a sailor’s life is for you? Take a look at the many kinds of New Zealand cruises and you might just find the perfect itinerary for your next holiday. Seeing the country by ship is a fantastic new perspective - and with 1 million cruise passengers in Australasia in 2014, the cruising revolution is well and truly here. You might as well jump onboard early.