New Zealand Cruise Lines
New Zealand doesn’t get quite the same attention as neighbouring Australia when it comes to cruising, and the season is considerably shorter, as the country largely has one climate. That said, it remains on the itineraries of many visiting ships, most homeported in Australia.
P& O Australia caters to Australian cruisers, with Pacific Aria, Pacific Adventure and Pacific Dawn venturing across the Tasman Sea to visit New Zealand on a regular basis. Other Carnival Corp. brands also make regular calls to New Zealand during the summer months, including Princess, Holland America Line, Seabourn and Cunard.
Royal Caribbean, Dream Cruises and Celebrity Cruises also offer sailings to New Zealand each summer, with visiting ships often making calls on their repositioning cruises from other parts of the world ahead of the season’s start. Most New Zealand voyages through the summer depart from either Sydney or Auckland. Azamara, another Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited line, also visits New Zealand with in-depth itineraries of 14 nights or more.
Crystal, Oceania, Regent, Silversea and P& O Cruises have ships arriving between December and January for a short season on grand Pacific voyages or world cruises. Ponant also offer New Zealand itineraries.
Best Hikes In New Zealand
On the best hikes in New Zealand, expect cinematic quality scenery, monumental mountains with towering peaks, diverse landscapes, and electric blue lakes. An outdoor enthusiasts haven with views straight out of a postcard, this destination will fulfill anyones hiking fantasy.
It should be noted that hiking is referred to as tramping and trails are considered tracks in New Zealand. Hiking here isnt a treat just because of the backdrop, but also thanks to the well-maintained and labeled trails. Just remember to always check conditions before heading out.
So when youre ready to lace up your boots, these are the best hikes in New Zealand. Be warned though, hiking here may ruin you for hiking anywhere else in the world.
Learn About Maori Culture
Maori culture has contributed hugely to New Zealand’s reputation abroad. Indeed, it is fascinating. However, there is much more to it than the famous haka, including delicate art and unique mythology. In Wellington, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa contains collections of items, clothes, photographs and art tracing the country’s history in a fun way. A visit here is full of fascinating discoveries and should be combined with watching a Maori dance performance.
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Bay Of Islands New Zealand
Located on the northwestern coast of North Island, the Bay of Islands is an amazing port offered when cruising to New Zealand.
The Bay of Islands is frequently compared to Rio de Janeiro as its home to the second bluest sky in the world. 144 subtropical islands are nestled in this gorgeous area filled with Maori cultural sites and stunning turquois waters.
What to do in the Bay of Islands:
Check out the Bay of Islands Maritime Park featuring a lovely lighthouse, Cape Brett, and the infamous Hole in the Rock formation. Explore this top New Zealand cruise attraction which was carved by the sea and weather creating a 240-foot wide hole.
The nation of New Zealand was formed here in the Bay of Islands with the signing of the Waitangi Treaty between the British and the Maori in 1840. Make sure to visit the on-site Te Kongahu Museum and the intricately carved meeting building where you can enjoy Maori cultural performances.
Head out to explore areas outside of the Bay of Islands at Cape Reinga located on the northern tip of New Zealand. This scenic outlook is where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet and combine together.
Puketi Forest Bay Of Islands
Puketi Forest in Bay of Islands, New Zealand
In the Bay of Islands, youll find Puketi Forest, rife with the indigenous Kauri tree, one of the longest living trees in the world. Stroll the Manginangina Kauri Walk to marvel at these natural giants and enjoy a leisurely hike along the boardwalk suited for all ages.
Walking this half-mile loop trail with a local guide will provide educational facts about the vegetation as well as some history of the ancient Kauri tree grove. Get ready to feel small as you stand under these magnificent trees.
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New Zealand Cruise Tips
Tip: Exploring farther afield: Although most of the main areas worth visiting in New Zealand are accessible from the major ports, traveling around the country isn’t difficult pre- or post-cruise. Options include flying, with domestic airports at many popular locations making almost every part of the country accessible renting a car and self-driving, which is favoured by many people, as it allows for greater flexibility or taking a bus tour. Air New Zealand is the primary local carrier, and it offers an Explorer Pass, which is an affordable way to get around the country.
Tip: Travel by train: If you have time to add on a rail trip, New Zealand’s trains cater largely to tourists, and they offer undeniably scenic journeys through remote national parks, across volcanic landscapes and alpine passes, and along the rugged coastline. KiwiRail Scenic Journeys operates three routes: The Northern Explorer links Wellington and Auckland through the volcanic heart of the North Island. The Coastal Pacific travels between Christchurch and Picton on the South Island, hugging the coastline. The TranzAlpine is arguably the most famous route, linking Christchurch with Greymouth across breathtaking Southern Alps.
Contact The Cruise New Zealand Experts Today
If you have any questions about any of the New Zealand cruises available at Cruise Guru, we have a team of cruise experts standing by to help find the perfect itinerary for you. We recommend checking our FAQ page first, but you can also request a call-back, where one of our advisors will be happy to assist you with any enquiry. Alternatively, you can use our online contact form, and we will get back to you promptly.
You can also keep up to date on all the latest happenings at Cruise Guru, including promotions, special offers, and competitions, by following us on or . If you are looking at New Zealand cruises for your next holiday and want excellent customer service, as well as the lowest prices on a range of cruises, look no further than Cruise Guru and let us help you book your dream cruise to New Zealand today!
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Mainstream And Family Cruise Lines For New Zealand Cruises
Just about all the main cruise lines offer sailings to and from New Zealand:
Hiking At Ship Cove New Zealand
Today Ship Cove is a park with walking trails and picnic tables for day trippers. Other than Captain Cook, the small park is most famous as one end of the Queen Charlotte Track, one of the most popular hiking trails in New Zealand. This 44-mile hiking trail links Ship Cove with the town of Anakiwa.
This track is different from most of the other government-sponsored trails in New Zealand since it does not feature small huts for hikers to camp in, even though the track takes 3 to 5 days to complete . The huts aren’t needed because delightful inns are found along the way. Hikers can also use water taxis to complete shorter sections of the track. It all seems very civilized, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the Queen Charlotte Track is only an option for cruise travelers who extend their trip in New Zealand or arrive early.
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Best Time For New Zealand Cruises
New Zealand is best enjoyed during the peak summer months of December, January and February, although the cruise season officially kicks off in early October, with most of the major activity winding down toward the end of April. Between May and September, only a handful of ships visit, with no activity at all in July, the first month of winter.
New Zealand has high annual rainfall spread evenly throughout the year, and it’s famous for weather that can change unexpectedly. Locals are not joking when they say you can experience four seasons in a single day. While the far north can have subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10 Celsius in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which equals mild to cool temperatures year round.
The average New Zealand temperature decreases as you travel south, with January and February the warmest months. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 to 30 Celsius , depending on where you are. Always pack layers and rain gear, and remember that, like Australia, summer is also a standard holiday period for families, so expect more crowds around major attractions and tourist spots, including beach resorts.
Include New Zealand With Your Antarctica Cruise
Another unique way to include cruising New Zealand in your travel plans is to embark or disembark here on an Antarctica cruise itinerary. Youll explore a far less visited region of Antarctica including the Ross Sea and New Zealands sub-Antarctic Islands like the Auckland Islands and Campbell Island. On these routes youll spend way more time below the Polar Circle than an average Antarctica itinerary as well as be able to continue your travels in New Zealand. New Zealand Antarctica cruises embark from either Dunedin or Bluff, the countrys most southerly town.
Quickly leave the day boats behind to explore in true AdventureSmith styleinto the wilderness.
Small Ship Cruising New Zealand
Temperature & Rainfall
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What Is The Difference Between A Sound And A Fjord
So weve been intermittently using both Sound and Fjord to explain the same thing a narrow water inlet with steep cliffs. But are they actually the same thing?
Fjord is a Norwegian word and some of the most famous and spectacular fjords can be found in the Scandinavian region. Fjords were formed by glaciers that caused erosion of the rocks below. It has a shallow mouth, where it opens out to the sea, and the deepest part is found inland, where the glacial forces were the strongest.
A sound is typically described as being wider than a fjord and does not have to be created by a glacier. Most are created from the ocean invading into a river valley by either a rise in sea level or sinking land .
So then, why do we keep interchanging sound and fjord, you ask. Because Milford Sound and the other sounds in New Zealand are actually fjords geologically. The fjords in this area were called sounds by European settlers and the names stuck.
Princess Cruise Ship in Milford Sound
What Are The Different New Zealand Itineraries
The majority of cruises visiting New Zealand are roundtrips from one of the popular Australian ports of Sydney and Melbourne. These New Zealand cruises tend to be more cost-effective, however, there are also opportunities to see New Zealand through cruising on longer voyages of 10+ days or shorter four night cruises.
12 Day NCL Australia and New Zealand Cruise
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New Zealands Fiordland National Park
Some describe Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park as the 8th Wonder of the World. It is hard to counter that accolade. Fiordland National Park covers 1.2 million hectares of New Zealands sound island and encompasses a dozen fjords, surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rainforests. If exploring the Fiordland from land, you can choose among numerous specular hiking trails that take you along the fjords and through the wilderness, meeting many of the rare species in the area.
Carved by retreating glaciers, the 15 fjords that make up the national park each have the characteristic steep cliffs. The mountains in the area make up the southern range of the Southern Alps.
The most popular fjord is Milford Sound, by far. Along with the large cruise ships that pass through Milford Sound early in the morning, dozens smaller boats, kayaks, and tourists frequent the fjord daily. The only other fjords accessible by roads are George Sound, Doubtful Sound, and Dusky Sound. While you can visit Milford Sound by road, there is something remarkable about entering the fjord from the sea.
Stretch Your Legs On An Iconic Walk
From the charming coastal town of Picton on North Island, you can take a boat to one of New Zealand’s best-known hiking trails: the Queen Charlotte Track. 70 kilometres long, it is divided into stages, allowing travellers to complete short walks. Plant enthusiasts will enjoy the huge colonies of tree ferns, manukas and beech trees. However, the Track is really famous for the views it offers during hikes: there are breathtaking panoramas of the coast and its various bays.
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Which Cruises Go To The Sounds
New Zealands popularity as a cruise destination has been skyrocketing in recent years, growing by 13% every year. New Zealand cruises typically depart either from Sydney, Australia or from Auckland. Along with Fiordland, New Zealand cruises typically visit Bay of Islands, Wellington, Tauranga, Napier, Picton, and Dunedin. Popular itineraries typically are either a round-trip from Sydney, a round-trip from Auckland, or a one-way trip from Sydney to Auckland . New Zealands cruise season lasts from October April, during the southern hemispheres summer.
While not all New Zealand cruises visit the sounds, most 8+ night New Zealand cruises will visit Fiordland National Park.
The top New Zealand cruise lines and ships are :
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Jewel
Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas
Princess Cruises Golden Princess, Ruby Princess, Sea Princess, Majestic Princess
Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Solstice
Viking Ocean Cruises Viking Spirit, Viking Sun
Silversea Cruises Silver Muse
Princess Cruises offers the most itineraries each year, giving you the most flexibility on other ports and departure dates.
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Arriving In New Zealand By Cruise Ship
When you arrive at your first New Zealand port you will be deemed to hold a visitor visa. This expires 28 days after the ship arrives at its first port of entry in New Zealand or when the ship leaves whichever happens first.
We will check you meet our entry permission requirements and are of good character.
New Zealand Repositioning Cruises
If you are looking for relaxing longer cruise that visits New Zealand, I highly suggest booking a New Zealand repositioning cruise. This way, you will enjoy all the best ports of the cruises from Australia and its ports while spending more time at sea and potentially linking up other must-see destinations.
Typically, these repositioning cruises are seen on Transpacific itineraries taking place at the beginning or end of Austrasia cruising season. Check out the larger cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian Cruise Line to explore these itineraries.
New Zealand Repositioning Cruise Reasons
You will have plenty of days at sea for scenic cruising as you enjoy the views of the landscape passing by in New Zealand and the other countries you pass. This may sound boring at first, however, these days at sea are completely different from those on other itineraries, as you will see remarkable sights around the Pacific Ocean.
Since these New Zealand repositioning cruises sail across the open waters on the Pacific Ocean, you may want to pack some seasickness medicine if you are susceptible to motion-sickness.
New Zealand Repositioning Cruise Ports
The most popular repositioning cruises that visit New Zealand typically visit less New Zealand ports than the other itineraries.. This means they won’t reach the lesser-known ports, however they will choose a couple of New Zealand ports to visit like Auckland, Akaroa, Wellington, Tauranga, and Dunedin.
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