New Zealand from Melbourne with Stay – Grand Princess – 7 February 2024
New Zealand Cruises
Although many people think that Australia and New Zealand are the same, the island nations coexist in the South Pacific as close neighbors with completely different personalities. Aussies and Kiwis enjoy a healthy sibling rivalry on the sporting field, but New Zealand has its own distinct offerings that cannot be compared to Australia’s. The Māori culture is one of the strongest in all of Polynesia, and if you’ve seen the breath-taking, sweeping vistas portrayed in blockbuster movies like “Lord of the Rings,” you won’t be disappointed; this is where they were filmed.
Best Time for a New Zealand Cruise
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.
Cruises From Australia:
Roundtrip cruises from Australia commonly include stops at popular New Zealand ports, including Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, and Dunedin. Longer cruises have additional stops at destinations like Bay of Islands, Napier, and Picton, as well as scenic cruising near Fiordland. Some itineraries will also tack on additional ports of call-in eastern Australia in places like Melbourne, Hobart, and Newcastle. Others include a handful of South Pacific destinations in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji.
New Zealand-only Cruises:
P&O has some New Zealand-only cruises on Pacific Aria, including a group of short itineraries. Offerings include roundtrip three-night comedy or food and wine cruises from Auckland, four-night comedy cruises from Auckland to Sydney, and four-night roundtrip cruises from Auckland to Napier. APT offers a number of circumnavigations of New Zealand cruises during the summer months on MS Caledonian Sky.
South Pacific Islands:
A popular option for locals, these usually leave from Auckland, with P&O dominating the market. Options include longer cruises to popular ports of call in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, while some head for Tonga, Fiji, and the Cook Islands.
New Zealand also appears on some repositioning cruises, or transpacific itineraries, at the beginning or end of the Australasia cruise season. These are typically offered by ships from Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Holland America Line as they head back to Seattle or Vancouver for the Alaska season. Other popular routes include Honolulu to Auckland or Sydney or the reverse.