When Jackie won a six-night New Zealand voyage through Cruise Factor Ltd, she didn’t expect to fall in love.
A first-time cruiser, Jackie Goulter won an Orion Expedition Cruise earlier this year that would see her take to the waves from Auckland to the Bay of Islands.
But when her partner Keith’s bad back cut him out of the cruising picture, it left space in her heart for something else.
On her Orion expedition, Jackie fell in love with New Zealand…and cruising.
Once her friend Sue from Matamata had been secured as a sub for the Keith, the ladies met in Auckland and stayed the night at the Crowne Plaza before boarding their ship on 20th February.
From the moment they were onboard Jackie and Sue were impressed, noticing the small touches that make the Orion a special ship.
“It’s just beautiful, there’s wood grain panelling everywhere with brass fixtures and they polish the brass every day!”
“We had a state room with a big window and a lovely marble en-suite bathroom with a shower.”
One of the stand-out features of this petite cruise ship is the surprisingly spacious rooms with abundant cupboard space, which was particularly handy for Sue who brought an enormous suitcase full of frocks.
But the ladies found little use for their evening dresses, when they discovered a more casual dress code onboard.
“You dressed as if you were going to a restaurant in the city, but not as if you were going to a ball,” said Jackie.
Taking a little while to settle in, it was three or four days before the duo knew their way around and they found they needed heaps of energy to cope with the “full-on” daily itineraries.
Cruising with Orion is all about the expedition, so alarm clocks had to be set every day, leaving little time to bask in the sun and relax for the first few days.
“By the third day I was knackered!” said Jackie.
But the exertion was worth it for the chance to see her country through the eyes of a tourist.
During a stop at Great Barrier Island, passengers went for a trek up to a waterfall and the prize-winning Kiwi cruisers noticed the Aussies and Americans were awestruck with the scenery.
“For us, it was nothing out of the ordinary and we realised we take for granted how beautiful our country is,” said Jackie, who had never been to the Bay of Islands before she took the cruise.
But the scenery wasn’t the only attraction. The Orion’s food was fantastic too, with everything you could wish for on offer, says Jackie.
And the 79 staff, to 88 passengers made the trip feel indulgent, with attentive staff ready to meet every need.
Hooked on cruising, Jackie is now busy planning her next trip, onboard a bigger ship where she and her girl friends can work on their dance moves and put their energy into partying.
Thanks to Jackie for sharing her experience and Photos. Article written by Emma Mackie
A selection of Jackie’s personal photos as shown below: