NEW TRIP

An Exploration Cruise of New Zealand's Islands

The Best of New Zealand

New Zealand

15 Days

From $6,995

Level 1+

Easiest

Overview

    Contact Us Download Itinerary

    Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

    Overview

    Discover the best of New Zealand while exploring its three main islands—the North Island, South Island, and Stewart Island—on this unforgettable 15-day cruise. On this expedition, you'll explore the sunken valleys and towering mountains of Fiordland; the crystalline waters, golden beaches, and coves of the Bay of Islands; the diverse marine life of Hauraki Gulf; the scenic playground of Marlborough Sounds; the iconic wildlife havens of Stewart Island and nearby predator-free Ulva Island; and the many iconic Kiwi towns along the way including the Scottish city of Dunedin, the Garden City of Christchurch, and the rich fertile soils of Gisborne. The Heritage Adventurer is built for exploring New Zealand's intricate coast, navigating through the fiords, cruising up harbors, and allowing for Zodiac excursions to remote isolated bays and hidden gems. This in-depth exploration starts in Queenstown and ends in Auckland.

    Arrive: Queenstown, New Zealand

    Depart: Auckland, New Zealand

    Highlights

    • Cruise along New Zealand's scenic coast and explore its three main islands including Stewart Island, a haven of wildlife
    • Enjoy wildlife encounters including dolphins, whales, an albatross colony, and rare endemic bird species
    • Marvel at the breathtaking scenery of Fiordlands, with its towering mountains and alpine lakes, and the idyllic beaches of the Bay of Islands
    • Visit iconic Kiwi towns including Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, Napier, and more

    Overview

      Contact Us Download Itinerary

      Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

      Itinerary

      Download Itinerary Expand All Days

      Note: This trip is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as an agent in booking your reservation with the operator. Please download the Rate Sheet in the Dates & Pricing section to see the full pricing details and contact our Cruise Collection Specialists to check availability.

      Arrive in Queenstown and make your way to the designated hotel where you will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening there will be an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of the expedition team.
      The morning is free to explore Queenstown before returning to the hotel for lunch. Depart for the Port of Bluff to embark your ship. You will have time to settle into your cabin and familarize yourself with the ship. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as the ship sets sail for ther adventure.Sail past Ruapuke Island, formerly a local Maori stronghold supporting a population of over 200 people.
      Two days to explore the incredible wilderness of fiords in the southwest corner of the South Island. This is an area rich in history, majestic scenery, and abundant in wildlife. Fiordland was well known to local Maori, with the demi-god Tuteraki-whanoa being said to have used his adze, Te Hamo, to carve out the region's fiords. Captain Cook and his crew landed here on HMS Resolution in 1773; they were the first Europeans to visit Fiordland, subsequently spending five weeks in Dusky Sound. Fiordland's coast is only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand's mainland. Waterfalls, streams, rivers, and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go, revealing steep gradients of mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. A rugged terrain, the thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens, and mosses. Bottlenose dolphins, Fiordland crested penguins, and Little penguins are all residents of the fiords; during your time here you will look out for them.The time in Fiordland includes Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound and Acheron Passage, Astronomer's Point, and Pickersgill Harbour. In Dusky Sound there will be the opportunity to experience an unforgettable helicopter flight through the Sound, swooping down alongside Cooper Island and Cook Channel with a landing on Mt Pender, where spectacular vistas across constellations of islands stretching into the horizon and dotting the winding fiords can be enjoyed. The isolation of Fiordland has been beneficial because its beauty remains unspoiled and its historic sites undisturbed.
      New Zealand's third island is well off the usual beaten tourist track. It is a wonderfully tranquil place; the scenery of untouched bushland is stunning. Enjoy a morning exploring Ulva Island, which is rich in history and wildlife, being a predator-free island from 1997; the bird song and wildlife is some of the best. In Paterson Inlet you will have time to explore the sandy beaches of Boulder Bay and West End Beach or just enjoy some time around Post Office Bay and Sydney Cove. Some of the wildlife you may get to see while walking the tracks on Ulva Island include Stewart Island robin, Stewart Island weka, South Island kaka, Kereru (wood pigeon), Mohua (yellowhead), red-crowned parakeet, fantail, bellbird, and tui.
      Sail into beautiful Otago Harbour, watch closely for northern Royal albatross at the Tairoa Head Albatross Colony. From our berth at Port Chalmers, explore the famed, fashion-forward city of Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the south and the gateway to Otago. Explore the scenic Otago Peninsula where sea lions rest and yelloweyed penguins can be spotted in one of their last strongholds where the beautiful farmed hills roll down towards white-sand beaches. Alternatively venture towards the interior of Otago through the scenic Taieri Gorge.
      The bustling port of Lyttelton is the maritime gateway to Canterbury and famously the setting for Sir Peter Jackson's The Frighteners starring Michael J Fox. Depart Heritage Adventurer and travel along the shores of Lyttelton Harbour to the acclaimed gardens of Sir Miles Warren at Ohinetahi. Travel across the Port Hills with its commanding views across the city and plains to explore the Botanic Gardens and the bustling post-quake city on the rebuild with its distinctly English setting around the Avon River, as well as visiting some of the region's most acclaimed private gardens of the "Garden City." Alternatively, venture north to the acclaimed wine region of Waipara and discover what makes this region so well suited for the growing of Pinot Noir and Riesling. During the time in North Canterbury you will also visit one of the many long established sheep farming families.
      The Heritage Adventurer sails into the sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds, a beautiful labyrinth of waterways intersecting the northern shores of the South Island. Take the opportunity to explore a coastal trail through the lush regenerating forest and watch for native birds including saddleback, parakeets, and robins on one of the island nature reserves.
      In Nelson, one of the best, yet seldom-visited ports of New Zealand, join your naturalists to discover the incredibly beautiful coastal scenery of the Abel Tasman National Park or take the opportunity to discover the regions culinary delights, artisan crafts, and world-class wines.
      Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and an exceptional natural harbor. The ship will dock in the center of the action from where you can easily explore the vibrant city on foot. Visit the cable car, explore the world renowned Zealandia nature reserve, discover the Botanic Gardens, and visit Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum.
      The Art Deco capital of New Zealand, and possibly the world, the post-quake city of Napier lies at the heart of thriving Hawkes Bay. Immerse yourself in the Art Deco world of central Napier with its quaint shops and unrivaled architecture before venturing to the world-renowned wineries of the Hawkes Bay, famed for their exceptional Syrah and Chardonnay vintages. Alternatively, join your naturalists on a visit to the exceptional Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony.
      Despite being named “Poverty Bay” by Captain Cook, the region is endowed with an exceptional climate and rich soils, meaning it is one of New Zealand's most renowned fruit and vegetable growing regions. A visit to Eastwoodhill Arboretum in the hills behind the town is not to be missed; the result of one man's passion and dedication, this is now the National Arboretum. As we are in Ngati Porou country you will be traditionally welcomed by the iwi.
      Discover one of New Zealand's hidden gems as you explore Great Barrier Island and the beautiful Port Fitzroy. Enjoy the opportunity to discover the sub-tropical forests that predominate here with stands of majestic Kauri tree and a verdant understory of ferns. Take a walk along one of the trails around the harbor for outstanding views or join your naturalists for a Zodiac exploration of one of the finest harbors in the north.
      The last day of your New Zealand discovery is spent amid some of the most beautiful coastal scenery to be found anywhere. As the name suggests, islands dot the bay where clear blue waters lap against golden sand beaches. It was here that much of New Zealand's early history, both Maori and European, unfolded, including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Visit the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi and discover the significance and stories surrounding the region.
      The Heritage Adventurer arrives in Auckland, the City of Sails, where she will berth in the central city waterfront. Following breakfast, disembark and head to the airport or continue your exploration of New Zealand. In case of unexpected delays we ask you not to book any onward travel until after midday today.

      Dates & Pricing

      Payment & Cancel Schedule

      At time of reservation: 25% of trip cost
      100 days prior to departure: Balance

      Please note that this differs from our standard policy.

      Cancellation & Transfer Schedule

      Minimum fee: $750 per person
      91-179 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
      90 days or less: 100% of trip cost

      Please note that this differs from our standard policy.

      Included
      • Pre- and post-cruise transfers
      • One pre-night hotel accommodation including dinner and breakfast
      • All onboard ship accommodation with meals
      • House beer, wine, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
      • All shore excursions and activities
      • Onboard lectures
      • Landing fees
      Not Included
      • International and domestic airfare to/from points of embarkation and debarkation of the ship
      • Pre- or post-trip accommodations other than stated above
      • Taxes or government fees
      • Passport or visa fees
      • Baggage fees
      • Travel, health, accident, or other insurance (required)
      • Laundry service
      • Any meals or beverages not specified in itinerary
      • Gratuities or other items of services of a personal nature

      Accommodations

      Scroll through our signature accommodations for this trip below. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

      Heritage Adventurer

      Days 1-14 (14 nights)

      Purpose built for adventure in 1991 at Finland's Rauma shipyard, the 140-guest Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) is 406 feet long, boasts the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super), and has an impressive history of remote region exploration. On board, enjoy stylish, sophisticated accommodations spanning...

      What the Trip is Like

      The trip is rated Level 1+, Easy, and is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active. Zodiac landing crafts are used to transport passengers ashore for walks to wildlife sanctuaries, scenic nature areas, and local towns and villages. Some agility is required for getting in and out of landing crafts.
      Review Trip Level Details

      Book your trip today

      Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!

      Itinerary

      Submit the form below to download itinerary

      Hidden

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      Trip Levels

      With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.

      Level 1 – Easiest

      Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.

      Level 2 – Easy to Moderate

      Hotel nights and/or safari-style camping, hikes of two to four hours on some days. Other physical activities are sometimes included, such as optional sea kayaking.

       

      Level 3 – Moderate

      Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.

      Level 4 – Moderate to Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-6 hours), mountainous terrain, significant elevation gains and losses (hiking up or down as much as 3,000 feet) on many days. Altitudes no greater than about 10,000 feet.

       

      Level 5 – Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.

      Level 6 – Very Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (5-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Most hikes take place at altitudes above 10,000 feet, with some days ascending as high as 18,000 feet.

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If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please call Wilderness Travel at 1-800-368-2794 or email us at <a href=\"mailto:\/\/info@wildernesstravel.com\">info@wildernesstravel.com<\/a>.<\/p>","System_References":"<p>We&rsquo;d be happy to put you in touch with a past client that has traveled with us.<\/p>","System_Visit_Our_Website":"<p>At <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/\">www.wildernesstravel.com<\/a>, you can book your trip online or find out about added departures, last-minute deals, and one-time Limited Edition adventures that aren&rsquo;t listed in our catalog. You can also access our complete library of detailed itineraries filled with enticing photos and videos, read bios of our Trip Leaders, find descriptions of trip accommodations, and check real-time availability of any trips that interest you.<\/p>","System_Helpful_Links":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:52:03 --><p>Wilderness Travel has compiled a list of useful websites for travelers. Find the Toucan Club tab on the home page of our website and choose Helpful Links: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/ toucan\/links\">www.wildernesstravel.com\/ toucan\/links<\/a>.<\/p>","System_About_New_Trips":"This is a new adventure and one that we are particularly excited about offering. However, as with all new departures, flexibility and a spirit of adventure are always appreciated! Activities are described in the itinerary but they can vary, sometimes considerably, depending on weather conditions, the group, and other factors.","System_About_Private_Journeys":"<p>Wilderness Travel Private Journeys are designed for people who want to travel with their own small private group, but who still want to experience the same superb itinerary design, great accommodations, and signature quality of Wilderness Travel's escorted group trips. These Private Journeys allow you to choose your own dates and your traveling companions&mdash;and enjoy the WT touch on all aspects of the journey.<\/p>","System_Limited_Edition_Adventures":"This is a Limited Edition adventure&mdash;which means a unique trip we've never run before or offer only every few years. Led by our most experienced Trip Leaders, these journeys often take place in remote destinations with only the most basic infrastructure for tourism. If you see a Limited Edition trip scheduled for this year, now is the time to sign up, as spaces fill very early and the trip may not be back for a while! Planned daily activities and actual timings may vary due to local conditions or the discretion of your Trip Leader&mdash;it is important to bring your spirit of adventure for these special exploratory journeys!","System_Social_Media":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:33:43 --><p><strong>SOCIAL MEDIA:<\/strong> We invite you to share your adventure with us on social media. Tag @wildernesstravel and we may even feature your content on our pages!<\/p>","System_If_You_Miss_Your_Flight":"<p><strong>IF YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT<\/strong><br>If you miss your flight or are otherwise delayed, contact our Wilderness Travel office, as well as our local partners, with your new flight information. Refer to the Emergency Contact Information listed in this Final Bulletin.<\/p>","System_Valid_Passport":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-16T10:26:21 --><p><strong>VALID PASSPORT:<\/strong> Check that your passport is valid for at least six months from the last day of your trip, and that you have at least two blank pages for any necessary visa or entry and exit stamps.<\/p>","System_Insurance_Policy":"<p><strong>INSURANCE POLICY:<\/strong> If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan, you should have received an email confirmation of your policy. Please bring a digital or printed copy of this policy with you. If you cannot find your email confirmation, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. If you have not purchased Travelex insurance already, you have the option to do so up to 24 hours prior to your departure.<\/p>","System_Covid-19_Travel_Requirements":"<p><strong>PRE-DEPARTURE INFORMATION<\/strong><strong>: <\/strong>Please review your Pre-Departure Information booklet included in this packet for important information regarding Wilderness Travel's COVID-19 protocols, packing lists, recommended reading, tipping, etc.<\/p>","System_Wilderness_Travel_Office":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:07 --><p>Our office in Berkeley, California can be reached at 510-558-2488, or by email at info@wildernesstravel.com. We are available during regular business hours (M-F, 8:30 am-5:00 pm, PST). <\/p>","System_ECI_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:31 --><p>If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan through Wilderness Travel, please remember to bring your Confirmation of Coverages (COC) with you on the trip, including your Plan Number and important emergency contact information.<\/p><p>If you've purchased a travel protection plan on your own, we recommend that you bring a copy of your policy, including all coverages, with you on your trip.<\/p>","System_Face_Masks_and_Hand_Sanitizer":"","System_DidNotPurchase_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-02-28T12:27:44 --><p>Travel Insurance: We recommend that you purchase travel insurance for this trip. For your convenience, we offer Travelex travel protection. Please let us know if you would like us to add the Travelex Travel Protection Plan to this final invoice. You can learn more about the policy on our <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/toucan\/travel-insurance\">website<\/a>.<\/p>","System_Purchased_Insurance":"Please remember to bring a copy of your Travelex Confirmation of Coverage and State Specific Policy with you on your trip. You should have received an email directly from Travelex with these documents. If you need this email to be re-sent, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. <br><br><br>","System_COVID-19":"The Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 declared by the World Health Organization and the US Department of Health and Human Services expired in 2023. As of March 2024, we no longer require guests who exhibit cold or flu symptoms to test for COVID-19. Guests who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to follow local health protocols, wear a mask in group vehicles and during indoor activities for the remainder of the trip, and may be asked to dine separately. Any travel companion sharing a room with them will also be required to wear a mask at all times in the shared group vehicles for the remainder of the trip.<br><br>We encourage all travelers to actively monitor their own well-being and to use common-sense preventative measures such as regular handwashing (or use of hand sanitizer) and\/or wearing a face mask. If you are feeling sick, we encourage you to self-isolate and\/or wear a mask to protect your fellow travelers. Guests may be required to wear a mask if the Trip Leader believes the situation warrants it.<br><br>Leading up to the trip, we encourage you to do everything possible to stay healthy, including avoiding close contact with anyone displaying cold or flu symptoms and washing your hands often. As always, by traveling with Wilderness Travel, guests agree to be accountable for their own well-being. If you are worried about a fellow traveler's cold or flu-like symptoms, you may opt to wear a mask or distance yourself as needed. It's important to remember that there are inherent risks associated with travel and group settings.<br><br>These protocols will be reviewed and adjusted as guidance evolves. <br><br>","System_Photography":"<strong>Camera Recommendations<\/strong><br>With the many advances in digital technology, a simple compact digital camera or even your smartphone is capable of taking pictures suitable for the needs of most people. For higher quality images and the ability to use long lenses for closer wildlife pictures, a DSLR camera is well worthwhile, though heavier. Most digital cameras and phones have good video options, but you may want to consider a GoPro for a lightweight, waterproof option. Always practice ahead of time with new equipment and bring your manual with you. You may want to consider renting camera equipment for your trip from places such as <a href=\"https:\/\/www.lensrentals.com\/\">lensrentals.com<\/a>. This is an especially good idea for renting large zoom lenses that you may need for just one trip. Adding their extra insurance fee to cover expensive equipment is recommended. <br><strong><br>Camera Accessories<\/strong><br>We recommend bringing at least two large capacity memory cards or a small digital storage unit (or tablet) to back up your photos, freeing space on your memory cards. Don't forget to bring a battery charger and a backup battery so one is always charged and ready to use. For trips where you may be away from power sources for multiple days, consider looking into a solar-powered battery charger or buying additional backup batteries, and check that you have the appropriate adapter for the electrical outlets in your destination.<br><strong><br>Sharing Your Images<\/strong><br>We would love for you to share photos from your trip, and with your permission, may even use your photos in our marketing materials or on our photo blog. We request that you send us a small sample of your best images. Please email your photos to wtphotoblog@gmail.com or tag us @WildernessTravel on social media.<br><strong><br>Photography Etiquette<\/strong><br>When taking pictures of local people, be aware of cultural considerations. Approaching people with a warm smile and using polite gestures or simple phrases to ask permission to photograph them usually works well. It is always recommended to engage people in conversation before asking to photograph them, but if people do not wish to have their photo taken, please honor their requests. We urge travelers to avoid giving money in exchange for photo opportunities, which makes it harder for future travelers to have a meaningful personal interaction with local people. Please always heed your Trip Leader's guidelines for what is appropriate. ","System_Gear_Store":"To help you prepare for your next WT adventure, we've put together a great collection of top brands including Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Eagle Creek, and more at our WT Gear Store (<a href=\"https:\/\/wildernesstravel.newheadings.com\/\">wildernesstravel.newheadings.com<\/a>).","System_Questions?":"<p>Our Area Specialists are your single point of contact and would be happy to answer any questions about your trip!<br>800.368.2794 | 510.558.2488<\/p>","System_Pricing_Detail-Small_Group_Adventure":" <br><br>To offer the lowest possible cost, our trips are priced according to the number of participants on the trip. All costs are per person, based on double occupancy. If you wish to have a single room, you must pay the single supplement fee. Please note that Wilderness Travel staff, or guests of Wilderness Travel such as travel writers, photographers, or leaders-in-training, are not included in the tier pricing count.","System_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:58:05 --><p>We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance. You can take advantage of a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan designed for Wilderness Travel by Travelex, or purchase other insurance on your own. See our website for details: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/insurance\">www.wildernesstravel.com\/insurance<\/a><\/p>","System_Make_it_Your_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:18 --><p>The prices above are for the ready-to-book adventure outlined in this Detailed Itinerary, a popular option that has been handcrafted by our Area Specialists to include the best of every destination. While many travelers choose to book this tour as is, our Area Specialists are also happy to work with you to customize this Private Journey to suit your specific interests and style of travel. We can arrange for longer or shorter stays, offer hotel upgrades (see below for sample costs), or add an extension to additional places of interest. We can even add special activities or customize excursions depending on your interests. We invite you to contact us to discuss your options!<\/p>","System_Signing_up_for_a_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:42 --><p>Early reservations are recommended since accommodations often sell out far in advance. Please call 1-800-368-2794 and ask for our [Africa Manager] or email us at [africa@ wildernesstravel.com] with any questions that you may have about this trip. To reserve your Private Journey, we will need to know your preferred dates of travel. We will then check availability and send you a proposed itinerary with exact pricing for your adventure. We can typically hold a provisional booking for one week. At that time, we must collect your initial deposit or accommodations will be released. We accept Visa, Mastercard, or American Express card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will send you a Welcome Packet that includes a letter of confirmation, Detailed Itinerary, Trip Application, Medical Form, and Pre-Departure Information Booklet with information to help you prepare for your adventure. Please see our Cancellations and Transfer Fee Schedule for specific payment information.<\/p>","System_Trip_Leaders":"<p>Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please visit <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/leaders\/\">wildernesstravel.com\/leaders<\/a>.<\/p>"},"terms":{"PaymentSchedule":"<p>At time of reservation: 25% of trip cost<br>100 days prior to departure: Balance <br><br><em>Please note that this differs from our standard policy.<\/em><\/p>","CancelSchedule":"<p>Minimum fee: $750 per person<br>91-179 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost<br>90 days or less: 100% of trip cost<\/p><p><em>Please note that this differs from our standard policy.<\/em><\/p>"}}