Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Arrive:||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Depart:||Queenstown, New Zealand|
|Lodging:||12 nights aboard a 114-passenger vessel|
|Meals:||All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard|
|Activity:||Cultural Adventures, Small Ship Cruising, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History|
13-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.
New Zealand offers a world of unparalleled landscapes: towering Alps tumbling into azure waters, rolling green hills cradling rugged coastline, and sweeping plains dotted by world-renowned vineyards. On this coastal exploration of both the North and South Islands we learn of Maori culture, explore volcanic and geothermal terrains, navigate majestic fjords, drop anchor in remote bays, and visit its iconic cities. New Zealand is a nature lover’s paradise, rewarding us with unique marine, bird, and wildlife, and our journey makes the most of its extraordinary natural attractions.
Auckland / Rotorua
Arrive in Auckland and embark on the Caledonian Sky. In Rotorua we visit the famous thermal springs of Wai-O-Tapu, with their geysers and pools of bubbling mud, as well as a local Maori Marae, where we enjoy a traditional Maori welcome and lunch.
The Caledonian Sky brings us to White Island, where we explore its active volcano, identifiable by the plume of steam continually spouting from its crater.
We arrive in Napier and join a tour of the town including its charming Art Deco buildings. Totally rebuilt after the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake, Napier has enormous style. Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s: Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco, the style of the 20th century. Napier’s Art Deco is unique, with Maori motifs and the buildings of Louis Hay, admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright. We walk along Marine Parade, see the Botanical Gardens, and take in the view from Bluff Hill Lookout before visiting a local vineyard to sample the local wines. The afternoon is free for independent exploration of the town, or join an optional excursion to the gannetry at Cape Kidnappers, where we can get amazingly close to the birds. The 13-hectare reserve includes the Saddle and Black Reef gannet colonies.
Our excursion in the nation's capital includes the Parliament buildings, Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, a lovely all-wood structure erected in 1866, and the superb Botanic Gardens.
Ship Cove / Picton
We look for playful dolphins and seabirds as we cruise in Ship Cove, where Captain James Cook spent much of his time in New Zealand. In Picton we tour the famous Marlborough wine-producing region and taste some of the Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines for which the area is justly famed.
Kaikoura is a famous whale watching area due to its nutrient rich waters. The combination of very deep waters and the mixing of cold and warm waters brings the nutrients to the top. We can join a whale watching cruise, looking for sperm whales, pods of dusky and common seals, and the wandering albatross. In the afternoon, we can explore the town on our own, join one of the nature walks, or take an optional trip on one of the birdwatching cruises. There is an abundance of birdlife in the area including great albatross, shearwater, petrels, prions, and shag.
We enjoy a morning city tour of this most British of cities. The tour includes an overview of the city and we see how it has recovered from the devastating earthquake. We view the Southern Alps from the Port Hills and tour the International Antarctic Centre. Or, we can join an optional full day tour on the Tranz Alpine Express Train to Arthur's Pass in the heart of the Southern Alps.
After a morning cruise, we explore Dunedin's gracious 19th century buildings including the magnificent railway station and the beautiful botanical gardens, the oldest in New Zealand and containing more than 6,800 plant species.
New Zealand’s third island is well off the usual beaten tourist track. It is a wonderfully tranquil place, whose scenery of untouched bushland is stunning. We visit Oban, see the fascinating Rakiura Museum, and drive along some of the 15 miles of sealed road to some of the beauty spots. We also hope to use our Zodiacs around Half Moon Bay and the Paterson Inlet. The birdlife here is amazing, with red crowned parakeets, black oyster catchers, sooty shearwaters, tuis, bellbirds, kakas, and fearless wekas.
Fjordland / Milford Sound
We have two days to explore the incredible wilderness of fjords to the south of Milford Sound. This is an area of majestic scenery, rich in wildlife, and only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand. Our schedule may include Resolution Bay, Dusky Sound, and Deep Cove, but final itinerary decisions will be made by the Captain and Expedition Leader based on weather conditions.
We disembark and transfer to Queenstown for departure on homeward-bound flights.
What the Trip is Like
The trip is rated Level 1, Easiest, and is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active. Zodiac landing crafts are used to explore the coastline and transport passengers ashore for walks to wildlife sanctuaries, scenic nature areas, and local towns and villages.
Dec 21, 2014-Jan 2, 2015 Caledonian Sky
Prices are for 2014
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
|Standard Suite Forward||$8,495|
|Deluxe Balcony Suite||$10,495|
|Premium Balcony Suite||$10,795|
- Standard Suites on Castle Deck with four portholes, en suite bathroom with shower. 244 sq. ft. Suites 254-262. Standard Suites (Forward) 250, 252 have two portholes.
- Superior Suites on Caledonian Deck with large window, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower (except for suites 329-331 that feature only a shower). 233 sq. ft. Suites 329-348.
- Premium Suites on Promenade Decks with large window, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower (suites 431 and 432 feature a bathtub). 217 sq. ft. Suites 431-434.
- Deluxe Balcony Suites on Bridge Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower, and a private balcony measuring 45 sq. ft. 215 sq. ft. Suites 505-512.
- Premium Balcony Suites on Promenade Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with shower, and a private balcony measuring 60 sq. ft. 217 sq. ft. Suites 416-428.
- Owner’s Corner Suites on Promenade Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with shower, two forward-facing portholes, and a private balcony measuring 60 sq. ft. 243 sq. ft. Suites 414-415.
Trip Cost Includes:
- Accommodations aboard the Caledonian Sky
- All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
- Shore excursions
- Use of quietvox earphones during excursions
- Gratuities to crew and while on excursions
- Guest speakers
- Port taxes
Trip Cost Does Not Include:All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; items of a personal nature such as laundry, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: 10%
of trip cost
100 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*
More than 90 days prior to departure: 10% of trip cost
70-89 days prior to departure: 40% of trip cost
50-69 days prior to departure: 60% of trip cost
30-49 days prior to departure: 80% of trip cost
15-29 days prior to departure: 90% of trip cost
14 days or less: 100% of trip cost
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Arrival & Departure Information
Arrival & Meeting Place
Aboard the Caledonian Sky, Auckland, New Zealand
Suggested flight arrival time: Morning of December 21, 2014
Embarkation: must be on board by 4:00pm
Ship departure: 6:00pm
Auckland, New Zealand (airport code: AKL)
We recommend that you spend at least one additional night in Auckland before the cruise begins, to allow for any unforeseen flight delays. We can help you book your hotel and airport/hotel or airport/ship transfers. Please call our office for more information.
Queenstown, New Zealand (airport code: ZQN)
Date: January 2, 2015
Suggested flight departure time: evening flight or morning of next day, January 3
Auckland, New Zealand
The ship is expected to disembark at 9:00am at Milford Sound. The transfer to Queenstown is approximately 4 hours. We suggest either an evening departure flight or an overnight in Queenstown in case of unforeseen delays.
Built in 1991 as a private yacht, the MS Caledonian Sky has been completely refurbished to become an elegant expedition vessel providing 5-star comfort in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Each of the 57 spacious suites offers ocean views, sitting area (some also offer a private balcony), well-appointed bathroom, flat-screen TV, telephone, personal safe, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, hairdryer, and mini-fridge. The MS Caledonia Sky also features a dining room, two bars (one has a 24-hour tea and coffee station), library, lounge with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, medical clinic and doctor, small gym and salon, ample outdoor decks, and an elevator that serves all decks. The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation, and communications equipment, along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times. A fleet of Zodiacs are available for landing at remote locations.