Royal Caribbean Cruise to NZ with Friends

· Sailing Through Wonders ·

December 2023 embarked us on a memorable voyage from Sydney, Australia, to the enchanting landscapes of New Zealand aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. Together with my husband and four cherished friends, we set off on a 12-day journey filled with awe-inspiring sights, heart-warming moments, and the adventure of a lifetime.

Departure: Sydney’s Grand Farewell

Our journey commenced in Sydney, a city whose skyline dazzles with the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The excitement was palpable as we boarded the magnificent Royal Caribbean ship, our home for the next dozen days. The ship itself was a marvel, boasting luxurious amenities, splendid dining options, and entertainment that promised to make every moment aboard unforgettable.

First Stop: Picton, The Gateway to the South

Our first New Zealand destination was Picton, nestled at the heart of the Marlborough Sounds. This quaint port town greeted us with its serene beauty and vibrant green landscapes. We took the opportunity to explore the Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary, indulging in the panoramic views of the sounds, an experience that set a majestic tone for the rest of our voyage.

Art Deco and Church Road Vineyard: Napier

Napier stood out with its unique 1930s Art Deco architecture, a stunning reminder of the city’s rebirth following a devastating earthquake. We wandered through its streets, time-warped by the historic buildings, and later ventured into the surrounding Hawke’s Bay wine region. Tasting some of the world’s finest wines at the Church Road winery while overlooking the vineyards was an unforgettable experience.

The Windy City: Wellington

In windy Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, we visited the Parliament House and the Beehive next to it, which was an interesting looking building that looked like an alien spaceship. Some of the group visited the Te Papa Museum that offered an in-depth look into the country’s history and Maori culture. Despite its notorious winds, Wellington’s charm was undeniable, especially the view from the picturesque cable car ride up to the Botanic Gardens.

Scottish Heritage in Dunedin

Dunedin, with its Scottish heritage, offered a blend of natural beauty and architectural elegance. We explored the city’s historic centre, visiting the Dunedin Railway Station and the serene St. Paul’s Cathedral. Exploring the town and marvelling at its impressive structures was a highlight of our Dunedin visit.

The Fiordland Experience

Our cruise then took us through the majestic fiords of Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound, and Milford Sound. These passages, with their towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls, were like navigating through a dream. The untouched wilderness, the tranquillity of the sounds, and the sightings of giant waterfalls were moments of pure bliss that reminded us of nature’s grandeur.

Fun Onboard the Ship

Even though the cruise stops were a lot of fun, it was the events and activities onboard the Royal Caribbean that made this holiday so worthwhile. We were spoiled with delicious food and 5-star service daily, the theatre shows and musicals were amazing. The simple times of relaxing in the spa or reading a book on the deck chair surrounded by an endless ocean was magnificent.

Reflections and Return

As our cruise neared its end, we found ourselves reflecting on the incredible cruise that went by so quick. Each destination had offered us a glimpse into New Zealand’s soul, from its rich Maori heritage and stunning landscapes to the hospitality of its people. The Royal Caribbean was a joy to travel on and we made many beautiful memories to last a lifetime.

Beyond the Pacific

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