We recently went on a cruise to New Zealand which included stops in Dunedin (Port Chalmers), Christchurch (Lyttleton), Wellington, Napier and Picton along with a day spent scenic cruising through Milford Sound, Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound – Fiordland. We had a great time. The cruise involved a total of five sea days, one as previously mentioned was scenic cruising. We were blessed with fine weather while cruising through Fjordland, it was sunny and bright with great visibility.
We welcomed the first two at sea days because we had travelled some distance and needed a little time to rest. There was a good programme of activities during the days and evenings, some of which we participated in and enjoyed.
We ate in the Main Dining Room in the evenings and were very well taken care of by our Waiter Roger, his Assistant Joshua, the Sommelier Bist, and the Bar Waiter Romero. These four men were marvellous. They were always very pleasant and seemed to anticipate our likes and dislikes very quickly. The food portions in the Main Dining Room are not huge but were fine for us. I know that you can order more if desired or even a second main course if your appetite has not been sated.
We had Cabin 92** on Deck 9. It was a nice bright veranda cabin. The television could perhaps be upgraded - there was no possibility of casting to TV from a personal device. The bathroom was a good size. We were a party of three people so one of us slept on the couch (a mattress was placed on top of the couch by our Attendant King) and it was very comfortable.
We used the Ship Shuttle to get to the centre of the city. The charge for this was $10 for the return trip. I really liked Christchurch. The city is still being rebuilt on places. We just walked around the city, visiting the Transitional Cathedral, the Quake Museum, the Botanic Gardens, earthquake victims memorials, the Friendship Bridge, main shopping streets etc.
We used the Ship Shuttle here again to get to the centre of the city. The charge for this was $10 for the return trip. This is a relatively small city. We visited the Railway Station, the Octagon area, the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum - which was really interesting and well done. In the afternoon, we visited the Orokonui Ecosanctuary and got a taxi back to Port Chalmers. We spent a little time looking around the small town and walked back to the ship.
Napier was my favourite port. We were very lucky because we had a beautiful day, weather wise. We got the shuttle to the town. There was a free shuttle provided by the Port Authorities as it is a working port and it is not allowed to walk through it independently. I loved the Art Deco architecture and it was fabulous to see so many vintage cars and residents wearing clothes from the art Deco period. It was clear that the residents of the town are very involved in promoting the town. The black sand of the beach was very unusual although I was told that the area is not safe for swimming. On arrival back at the ship, there were further vintage cars, residents in period costumes and a band playing music from the era. My memories of Napier, in particular, will stay with me.
Picton is a small picturesque town with great scenery. We got the free shuttle into the town. On arrival, we had booked a cruise into the Queen Charlotte Sound with Beachcomber Cruises. The scenery in the sound is fabulous. We were taken to Ship’s Cove which was the location of Captain Cook’s visit in 1770. The whole area in the sound is pristine and unspoiled. Much of it looks similar now to the way it would have looked back in 1770. The town itself was small but pretty. My husband had a bit of work to do which was important so he went to the local library who were very accommodating to him. We did a little shopping, had a bite to eat and returned to the ship via the shuttle.