If you’ve never been to New Zealand, one of the best way to see the area is by ship when you can just unpack once, sit back and sail from port to port. And if you prefer small vessels to behemoth ‘boats’ (never use that word in front of ship’s captain), AdventureSmith, a Tahoe, California-based leader in small ship cruising, has you covered. The company is offering three new vessels and four new itineraries in New Zealand will take you on an exploration of a lifetime. “These new cruises round out our current New Zealand program to offer AdventureSmith Explorations’ travelers the widest variety of ship sizes, itineraries and price ranges available,” explained Todd Smith, founder. With four vessels carrying 16, 24, 32 or 72 guests, there’s a New Zealand cruise option for every travel style and budget.
The three new ships, Affinity, Island Passage and Milford Wanderer, which are family owned and operated, provide an introduction to Kiwi culture and customs. Those cruising the coastline of this two-island country that the indigenous Maori call Aotearoa, or “Land of the Long White Cloud,” can select environments ranging from sub Antarctic to temperate. In the colder south where temperatures may hover at 50 degrees, small ships access the remote wilderness of the Fiordlands; on a northern circuit, guests can bask through the Bay of Islands surrounded by an abundance of tropical foliage.
The Affinity Fiordland Cruise does seven-day explorations of the unspoiled Fiordland region south of Milford Sound and stops at t Doubtful Sound, a fjord accessible only by small ship, and Astronomer’s Point, where Captain Cook first took measurements of the planet Venus. There’s also often the opportunity to fish for grouper and blue cod. Day 1 begins with an overnight in Te Anau in the south of the South Island. The next morning you hop on board the tiny 16-passenger yacht-like ship and off you go into the wild blue yonder. The cruises are offered from now through August with fares tarting at $2,040 per person, double occupancy.
The larger, 24-passenger Island Passage makes eight-day voyages under the name Fiordland National Park Cruise, that include transportation by motor coach, helicopter, airplane and ship. One of the highlights is visiting Milford Sound, acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination. It’s been named a world’s top travel destination by Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Destinations Awards; author/poet Rudyard Kipling dubbed it the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Rudyard Kipling.
The cruise is available at the end February, 2015 through mid-April, 2015 with fares from $4,555 per person, double occupancy.,
The Bay of Islands Explorer also utilizes Island Passage for eight-day cruises exploring the northern tip of New Zealand and the Bay of Islands. On this trip they offer kayaking, as well as opportunities to see dolphin, historic sites and vineyards while dining on regional cuisine such as those delicious New Zealand’s green-lipped mussels. This cruise runs from January through February and starts at $3,060 per person, double occupancy.
Go deep into the Fiorlandland National park on a seven-day Preservation Inlet Discovery cruise aboard the 32-passenger Milford Wanderer that covers Doubtful, Breaksea and Dusky sounds as well as Preservation and Chalky inlets in Southern New Zealand’s Fiordland region. This cruise is offered in April, May, August and September, with rates from $1,800 per person, double occupancy.
For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and 2015-2016 reservations call 800-728-2875 or click here. Having sailed New Zealand on Silversea’s Silver Whisper I can say that exploring the destination by sea is truly amazing.