Kiwi Cruise Favourites

Cruise ship holidays are no longer the pie-in-the-sky holiday dream they used to be as affordability and value-for-money deals mean we can turn our dreams of cruising into reality.

Add to that varied itineraries and flexible stays and the classic cruise holiday is catching on in a big way with intrepid travellers down-under.

Last year, more than 48,000 Kiwis took cruise holidays, a figure almost doubling in size from 2008 when records began, according to travel reports.

So it’s interesting to see what the favourite destinations are for New Zealanders.

Pacific Islands

Top of the list is, not surprisingly, the Pacific Islands. Well of course, it’s a classic winter break with the chance to get some hot sun, it’s in our own back yard, and it’s easy to get to for a quick five or six-day break , or a longer  holiday if you have the time.

There’s quite a few destinations on offer with a variety of cruise lines.

French Polynesia luxury cruise specialists Paul Gauguin Cruises offer a seven-night Papeete round-trip on ms Paul Gauguin in 2013 and 2014.

The luxury ship will take you to Raiatea with its reef-bound lagoon and Taha’a, her companion island, where you’ll enjoy a full day of exploration. Then sail to Bora Bora, and her siren sister, Moorea.

Or cruise around Fiji on the Pacific Pearl – a wonderful 14-night cruise departing from Sydney and visiting Noumea, Mystery Island, Vila, Dravuni, Port Denarau, Suva Fiji and Isles of Pines.

Another Pacific Island cruise can be found with Island Escape Adventure Cruises’ Island Passage. The Romance of Vanuatu cruise departs from Port Vila and explores all the beautiful bays of Vanuatu.


It stands to reason that a European cruise holiday is a popular option – the beauty of Europe is the sheer variety of destinations in relatively close proximity.. So you can cruise around the Mediterranean, visiting Italy and Greece, or go on a river cruise down the Rhone, the Danube, or the Volga, or cruise to Russia or Norway.

Voyages of 14 nights are generally the most popular but you can now split your time between a big city and a five or seven-night cruise.

If you love history, and have some time on your hands, Voyages of Antiquity has a 24-night cruise from Venice to Istanbul. Their Aegean Odyssey, Grand Voyage to the Classical World visits several Croatian ports including Dubrovnik, Greece including Santorini, and Turkey, including Bodrum and finishing in Istanbul.

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum, where you can take a seven-night cruise in northern Europe, among the Norwegian Fiords with P & O Cruises’ Oriana from Southampton.  Starting off from Stavanger, known as the ‘Cradle of the Vikings’, you sail to other cities, seeing amazing waterfalls and glaciers on the way.

And last but not least are the river cruises, having increased in popularity with Kiwis year on year as they offer a stress-free and value-for-money way of seeing special parts of Europe’s waterways. There are any number of specialist river cruise operators cruising on the numerous waterways in Europe.

Avalon Waterways offers a seven-night Cruise sailing from Nuremberg to Budapest aboard Avalon Tranquility, with a three-night stay pre-cruise in Prague.

Or combine Paris and Burgundy on Uniworld Boutique River Cruises with a 14-night cruise sailing from Paris to Arles aboard River Baroness and River Royale, with a two-night stay pre-cruise in Paris.

New Zealand

Cruising around New Zealand is a special way of seeing this country and gives travellers the chance to visit and stay in out-of-the-way places like Fiordland’s Doubtful Sound, and Stewart Island, so it’s no surprise this is in the top five.

Coral Princess offers a wonderful chance to sail around the South Island on an eight-night cruise sailing from Milford Sound to Wellington aboard Oceanic Discoverer. Highlights of this cruise include Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound and Stewart Island.

On a larger scale, and if you don’t mind a trans-Tasman sailing, Holland America Line’s ms Oosterdam offers a 14-night sailing from Sydney and, via Melbourne and Hobart, ends up in New Zealand and sails up to Auckland via Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier and Gisborne.


Australia’s huge size has not deterred travellers wanting to cruise around its coastline, making it a popular fourth choice for Kiwis.

The good thing about cruising in Australia is there is a lot of flexibility around the number of nights you cruise, for example three to five-night cruises make it a really good mini-break option. Themed cruises also play a strong part in the cruise culture here, for example, you can go on a Melbourne Cup-themed cruise, which gives you a wonderful opportunity to see the races but also have a bit of a treat onboard a luxury cruise ship.

A good short-break cruise example is a four-night trip with Coral Princess Cruises round-trip from Cairns around Great Barrier Reef.

Another short-break example is a three-night trip with P & O Cruises around Sydney. It’s a kind of floating hotel mini-break in Sydney – so you get to experience the excitement of Sydney with the luxury and fantastic amenities of the ship.

River Cruising

This is the popular fifth and the figures bear it out – there was a 32 per cent jump in numbers cruising the world’s riverways last year.

Have a look here for river cruising options for Europe, Australia, Egypt, and Asia.


Thanks to Rachel Sturges for this blog.


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