Australia and New Zealand Cruise: 14 nights in February 2013

This cruise is aboard Holland America's great vessel the Oosterdam. Leaving from Sydney, it visits the South Pacific's two biggest nations over a full fortnight.

Leaving from Sydney, the first stop is Australia's stately southern city of Melbourne. The pace is more relaxed here than in Sydney, so enjoy a stroll by the river and coffee or food at one of the many wonderful cafes. Historic Hobart on the island of Tasmania is the last stop before heading across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.

First up in the Land of the Long White Cloud (the translation of Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand) is scenic cruising in Milford Sound. The Sound is a beautiful waterway with bush-clad hills dropping into the water, waterfalls and the occasional dolphin playing around the ship. The next port is Dunedin, a student city with a proud Scottish heritage. Listen for the locals rolling their 'r's! Akaroa is next, a beautiful town which was settled by the french. A popular activity here is swimming with the tiny Hector's Dolphins which frequent the harbour.

Milford Sound
by edwin. 11 Flickr Creative Commons

After Christchurch the Oosterdam moves on to the North Island and stops at Wellington, New Zealand's capital. This hilly city has a lot to offer- not least the wonderful interactive museum Te Papa which is right on the waterfront. A visit here is highly recommended! Next is the sunny city of Napier which is home to great beaches and distinctive art deco architecture.

Before Auckland comes Tauranga, another sunny and beachy city, where the ship will dock near the surfy neighbourhood of The Mount. Then comes the City of Sails- Auckland- which is New Zealand's biggest metropolis. Here you can enjoy the city centre, which is where the ship docks, visit restaurants and museums or check out the shops. Take a ride up the iconic Sky Tower for great views of the city. The cruise disembarks here, so take a few days to see all Auckland has to offer!

by Andy Smith Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: Holland America
Vessel: Oosterdam
Ports of Call: Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Milford Sound (scenic cruising), Dunedin, Akaroa Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland
Sailing Dates: Wednesday 6th of February 2013- Wednesday 20th February 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 14 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Wed 6 Feb 18:30
Day 2: At sea
Day 3: Melbourne, Fri 8 Feb 07:00- 18:00
Day 4: At sea
Day 5: Hobart, Sun 10 Feb 07:00- 23:00
Day 6: At sea
Day 7: Milford Sound, Wed 13 Feb 08:00- 09:00
Day 8: At sea
Day 9: Dunedin, Thurs 14 Feb 08:00- 18:00
Day 10: Akaroa, Fri 15 Feb 07:00- 18:00
Day 11: Wellington, Sat 16 Feb 08:00- 17:00
Day 12: Napier, Sun 17 Feb 08:00- 14:00
Day 13: Tauranga, Mon 18 Feb 08:00- 20:00
Day 14: At sea
Day 15: Auckland, arriving Wed 20 Feb 07:00

About the Oosterdam

The ms Oosterdam is second in Holland America's line of Vista-Class ships. She has the distinctive Holland America dark wood, marble, brass, sculptures and paintings that make travelling on their ships a sumptuous experience! There is much to do and learn in the enrichment centres which include a Culinary Arts Centre and a Digital Workshop. There are also language classes, bingo and trivia competitions. For those more active there is the spa, gym and pool, and in thje evening enjoy the lounges, bar, casino and shows in the Vista Lounge. The Oosterdam's main restaurant offers both open and set seating, and top-notch 5 course menus, including an extensive vegetarian menu. The Lido restaurant is the buffet option, and the Pinnacle grill the specialty restaurant for a special evening. There is also a small Italian restaurant which requires reservations but no cover charge.

See here for great deals on the Australia and New Zealand cruise in February 2013!

South Pacific- 10 nights in February 2013

This cruise on the Rhapsody of the Seas leaves from Sydney and visits  islands and towns in New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The first stop after some relaxing sea days is the beautiful capital city of New Caledonia, Noumea. This city is best explored by the famous 'Petit Train!' Next on the itinerary is a stop at tiny Mystery Island. This islet is a part of Vanuatu and completely uninhabited, making it a perfect castaway tropical island.

Lifou comes after Mystery Island, back in New Caledonia. This is an archipelago full of friendly locals who will welcome you to 'their place,' before the cruise moves on to the city of Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, where you can sit by the water and watch the fishing boats come and go in the natural harbour. The final stop before returning to Sydney is the Isle of Pines in Vanuatu, which is what its name suggests- an isle of pines, with stunning white sand and clear waters!

by eGuide Travel Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: Royal Caribbean
Vessel: Rhapsody of the Seas
Ports of Call: Sydney, Noumea, Mystery Island, Lifou, Port Vila, Isle of Pines
Sailing Dates: Friday 1st February 2013- Monday 11th February 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 10 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Fri 1 Feb 18:30
Day 2-3: At sea
Day 4: Noumea, Mon 4 Feb 08:00: 17:00
Day 5: Mystery Island, Tues 5 Feb 08:00- 17:00
Day 6: Lifou, Wed 6 Feb 08:00- 18:00
Day 7: Port Vila, Thurs 7 Feb 08:00- 17:00
Day 8: Isle of Pines, Fri 8 Feb 10:00- 18:00
Day 9-10: At sea
Day 11: Sydney, arriving Mon 11 Feb 06:30

About the Rhapsody of the Seas

The Rhapsody has recently been upgraded to make for an even better cruise experience. Aside from the usual Royal Caribbean sumptuous decor and features, the ship now boasts a poolside cinema, flat screen TVs in the staterooms, iPads in the rooms to access the daily onboard programmes, menus and special events, the complimentary Park Cafe, and more! The main dining room, buffet, and a few more options are included in your cruise fare, and there are a lot of great specialty restaurants, which you can experience for a great price with a dining package.

Rhapsody of the Seas
by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner Flickr Creative Commons

See here for great deals on the South Pacific cruise in February 2013!

Week Tropique: 7 nights in February 2013

See some of New Caledonia's gems on this cruise aboard the Pacific Pearl. Leaving from and returning to Sydney, the cruise first stops at Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia. It is a fascinating blend of French and native Kanak cultures. Take the 'Petit Train' on a tour of the city, or head out to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre to learn a bit about the Melanesian history and way of life. The second anf inla stop on the cruise is the Isle of Pines, where blue water meets white sand meets palm and pine trees. Relax onboard for a few more days before returning to Sydney.

Operator: P&O Australia
Vessel: Pacific Pearl
Ports of Call: Sydney, Noumea, Isle of Pines
Sailing Dates: Thursday 7 February 2013- Thursday February 14 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 7 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Thurs 7 Feb 08:00
Day 2-3: At sea
Day 4: Noumea, Sun 10 Feb 08:00- 22:30
Day 5: Isle of Pines, Mon 11 Feb 08:00- 17:30
Day 6-7: At sea
Day 8: Sydney, arriving Thurs 14 Feb 07:00

About the Pacific Pearl

The Pearl is a great example of P&O Australia's laid-back and fun ships. There are endless activity options to keep you busy day and night- pools, a gym, a rock-climbing wall, mini-golf, spa, various organised activities, a theatre and many bars which also serve as live music venues. Dining in the main dining room is a treat, and there is also a buffet and a casual grill by the pool. For a bit of a gourmet experience, try the specialty restaurant onboard called the Salt Grill.

New Zealand Cruise: 13 nights in February 2013

Dawn Princess
by Kabacchi Flickr Creative Commons

 Visit the sights of the Land of the Long White Cloud with Princess on this amazing port-filled 13-night cruise. February brings some of the best weather that New Zealand gets, so is a perfect time to visit. First stop after leaving Melbourne is the stunning Fiordlands National Park. Scenic cruising only, the Sounds will amaze you with majestic bush-clad slopes dropping straight into the valleys of drowned rivers. After this, the ship heads to Dunedin's Port Chalmers where you can visit the bustling student city. Lyttleton at Christchurch is up next, and then the capital of Wellington, a city perched on hills surrounding a roomy natural harbour. For a cultural experience, visit the interesting and interactive Te Papa museum on the Wellington waterfront. Making it's way up the North Island, the ship next stops at Napier in the sunny Hawkes Bay where you can hit the beach! Beaches continue in Tauranga, where you can visit the and climb Mount Maunganui. The big smoke is next, with a stop at Auckland. The ship docks right in the city centre so you can explore the cafes, museums, art galleries and shops. After 3 relaxing days at sea, the cruise returns to Melbourne.

Operator: Princess Cruises
Vessel: Dawn Princess
Ports of Call: Melbourne, Fiordland (Scenic Cruising), Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland
Sailing Dates: Departing 16:00 Tues Feb 5 2013, arriving 07:00 Mon Feb 18 2013

Cruise Itinerary:

Length of cruise: 13 nights

Day 1: Melbourne, departing Tues Feb 5 07:00
Day 2-3: At sea
Day 4: Fiordland National Park (Scenic), Fri Feb 8 07:00- 17:00
Day 5: Dunedin, Sat Feb 9 08:00- 18:00
Day 6: Christchurch, Sun Feb 10 08:00- 18:00
Day 7: Wellington, Mon Feb 11 08:00- 18:00
Day 8: Napier, Tues Feb 12 07:00- 14:00
Day 9: Tauranga, Wed Feb 13 07:00- 17:00
Day 10: Auckland, Thurs Feb 14 07:00- 16:00
Day 11-13: At sea
Day 14: Melbourne, arriving Mon Feb 18 07:00

About the Dawn Princess:

The Dawn Princess is based in Australia year-round and uses Aussie dollars onboard, making it easy to hop on and sail away! Princess has 2 traditional dining rooms, with a wide variety of casual options including a buffet, pizzeria, ice cream bar and many more. There is a specialty steakhouse and a balcony dining experience available for a small fee. Dining options are numerous on this ship! For your night-time entertainment, there is a theatre, a show lounge and an outdoor movie theatre. There is also the casino and many bars where you can catch up with friends to enjoy a drink and some music, or get moving on the dance floor! Daytime activities are also endless- the spa and gym will keep you fit and refreshed, as will a dip in the pool. Simulated golf, a shuffleboard court, scholarship@sea enrichment classes and lectures, the library and duty-free shopping will keep you busy when not in port.

For great deals on the New Zealand Cruise, have a look here!