Advice is tricky. It’s yours for the taking and usually there’s plenty of it to go around. So, when it comes to making sure you have chosen the most memorable vacation experience for your clients, it’s important to carefully consider the source you are getting destination advice from.
The reality is, as much as you try, you cannot be an expert on every destination. Cruise lines know this, so they have invested in destination experts that you can trust – people who make it their sole business to know the ins and outs of each port your client is visiting.
Consider New Zealand, for example. This region is overflowing with reasons why you should send your clients here, but being able to zone in on them might be best supported by the cruise lines who serve the destination well and frequently.
To prove our point, we have spoken to these experts, thus providing you with a glimpse of why visiting the unique and picturesque ports of New Zealand is among the best advice we can offer.
You might not have realized that New Zealand has a third island. It hangs beneath the South Island and is just about the last inhabited place before Antarctica. The island itself is only about four percent inhabited, and that is its attraction — namely an unspoiled piece of primeval New Zealand. Sometimes referred to as Halfmoon Bay, Oban is a very small town, with a population of just about eight hundred people. It is known for its fishing (so expect fantastic seafood) as well as its hiking and birdwatching.
Acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination, Milford Sound is a fjord in the southwest of New Zealand's South Island, off the Tasman Sea. Carved by glaciers during the Ice Age, it is part of the Fjordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site and has been judged one of the world's top travel destinations in an international survey.
Frequently visited by rain, the mountain peaks rising from the waters of Milford Sound are often softened by mist and an air of almost flawless and overpowering mystic calm. Boat cruises by day or overnight are an excellent way to experience the Sound.
The country’s handsome capital on the North Island embodies the “must-see cities” category, with highlights including the famous “beehive” Parliament building and the impressive Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. The iconic red Wellington Cable Car runs from Lambton Quay to the Wellington Botanic Gardens. In the suburbs, the Weta Cave is the home of the “Lord of the Rings” film production facilities, special effects labs, and museum.
This charming port is set against the scenic Banks Peninsula. It was actually New Zealand’s only French colony for a while, and the town celebrates its unique French character. Guests here can opt for whale and dolphin watching tours (the bay is the only place to see the small, elegant and rare Hector’s dolphins); or travel across rolling countryside dotted with grazing sheep, on tours that visit the picturesquely English town of Christchurch, famous for its nostalgic River Avon atmosphere.
An important shipping port, Tauranga is the gateway to some of New Zealand’s most famous attractions. The Rotorua Thermal Area is a cluster of towering geysers, bubbling mud-pots, steam vents and other volcanic phenomena. At the large Maori Cultural Centre, the traditional arts and cultural practices are maintained. It is an excellent place to shop for a distinctive carved wooden or woven souvenir or piece of handcrafted jewelry in the native materials and style. Near Tauranga, there are also the famous Waitomo Glow-worm caverns; while about 30 miles offshore, a visit to the active volcano of White Island offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
World-famous for the prolific marine life in its surrounding waters, Kaikoura is home to whale watching (including sperm whales), dolphin and seal watching tours year-round. A scenic walkway runs from the town center to the colonies of fur seals at Point Kean. The Fyffe House is a 19th-century home built on a foundation of whale bones, now a museum of whaling history. It’s also famous for fresh seafood, including crayfish (spiny lobsters) and the delicious Paua (also known as abalone.)
Perched at the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound on the South Island, Picton offers classic, breathtaking New Zealand scenery. An important transportation link between the North and South Islands, it is also the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds holiday region with lots of outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing, trekking, and cycling. The town’s attractive waterfront is lined with restaurants, galleries and cafes, as well as an aquarium and a floating maritime museum. Many guests here opt for tasting expeditions into the famous nearby Marlborough wine country.
Cruising up the long, scenic harbor to Port Chalmers, visitors would be forgiven if they thought they had somehow landed in Scotland. Sheep graze on hillside meadows and there’s even a castle. The Otago Peninsula is a picture of Brigadoon, but at the seaward end, there are Royal Albatross colonies and even penguins. Dunedin is a picturesque university town with a photogenic, Gingerbread-style railway station straight out of a picture book. Tours visit Lanarch Castle, actually a mansion replica; and the sea lion and bird colonies at Taioroa Head on the peninsula.
FROM THE SPONSOR: Just as New Zealand offers a tremendous variety of sights and experiences for visitors, Seabourn offers a variety of ways to enjoy them. Small-group shore excursions are planned for both general and more particular interests. Seabourn’s Destination Services staff can also provide customized private arrangements for individuals or groups. On select cruises, a Ventures by Seabourn expedition team of scientists and other experts provide insights and information onboard; and lead kayaking, Zodiac cruising and trekking excursions in ports of call. Most importantly, the guests onboard enjoy all of New Zealand’s historic, cultural and natural splendors from the consummate elegance and ease of the world’s finest six-star, ultra-luxury resort at sea on board Seabourn Encore in 2019.