Aotearoa, named by the Māori and believed to mean the land of the long white cloud, is such a spiritual-like calling – who could resist?
The ethereal beauty of New Zealand stirs the soul, with its two main islands and 15,000km of coastline boasting many spectacular landscapes. And the most inspirational and fulfilling way to experience Aotearoa’s beauty is on a cruise, which is by far the most accommodating and best value-for-money option.
Instead of bumping around winding roads over mountains and crossing verdant valleys, you relax onboard a Princess® ship, which has all the luxuries for you to enjoy while cruising happily to your next port of call, all the time being one with the surrounding splendid seas as you go – with cocktail in hand for your pleasure.
From the mountains to the sea
With soaring peaks in dramatic mountain ranges to braided rivers, patchwork valleys, volcanoes, stark gorges, resplendent fiords, geothermal springs, idyllic beaches and vine-tangled fields, New Zealand has one of the most diverse topographies on the planet. It is surprising how beautiful it is and you become part of it moment after moment.
One of the highlights of your cruise is witnessing the achingly beautiful scenery of Fiordland National Park. This ancient landscape in the southwest corner of New Zealand has 14 fiords that have been carved over 100,000 years, including the legendary Milford Sound / Piopiotahi that Conde Nast named as one of the “7 Cruise Wonders of the World”.
Cruising on this idyllic, tranquil sound fringed by imposing cliffs will leave you in awe. With tendrils of mist, ancient rainforest and waterfalls giving it an other-worldly aura, Milford Sound will leave an imprint on your heart and make you really feel alive and transformed. New Zealand will become a favourite.
To get to know any country it is key to learn about the history of the place, and its people. The Māori have been the ‘tangata whenua’, the indigenous people of Aotearoa for millenia, and on your Princess cruise, you’ll learn about the enriching Māori culture both on – and off – the ship, gaining a deeper understanding of this ancient culture.
One of the most important Māori experiences is visiting the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands, along with Whakarewarewa, a living Māori village in Rotorua. You will connect with locals and become part of their whanau (family). They will share enriching stories from their heritage with you while enjoying your company as much as you will theirs.
A veritable feast of wining and dining
Any wine connoisseur will wax lyrical about New Zealand’s wines, from its pinot noir to its sauvignon blancs and other varietals. New Zealand has an embarrassment of riches with its food and wine producers able to take advantage of the fertile soils and perfect terroir to grow and cultivate some of the best food and wine worldwide.
You’ll tantalise your tastebuds and raise a glass to your new-found friends with fine wines from such renowned regions as Marlborough, Central Otago, the Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Waiheke. And oyster lovers will be deliriously happy dining on Bluff Oysters, with crayfish, mouthwatering king salmon and tasty, green-lipped mussels being other local favourites. Add to this, it wouldn’t be a New Zealand cruise without a pavlova or two.
Across the Ditch
When cruising with Princess in New Zealand, the exclusive Across the Ditch program offers authentic Māori experiences, culture and local flavours onboard and ashore to showcase what makes New Zealand so unique. You can take advantage of special regional experiences to elevate your cruise and ensure personal growth such as traditional folkloric performances. You can learn the art of Poi dancing or the Haka Māori War Dance and view a pop-up display from the Auckland War Memorial Museum in the Atrium.
New Zealand too, will instill a love of travel and cruising in your children or grandchildren on a family or intergenerational cruise with Princess. New Zealand is a perfect destination with no long flight home and a plethora or exciting activities for kids to enjoy.
Onboard, kids will be engaged in new experiences and wonder-filled Kids & Teen Centres. Imagine the joy on the kids’ faces when they visit Hobbiton, the magical recreated and quirky Hobbit village made famous in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Then there is the array of activities from rafting to soaking in thermal springs, being mesmerised by bubbling geysers or watching seals frolic, albatross flying or white-flippered blue penguins.
Families will have life-long memories from the experiences on their New Zealand Princess cruise, and it will perhaps even help transform and inspire young minds to see the world, learn new things and be educated about Indigenous cultures.
Princess also welcomes those with limited mobility offering a selection of staterooms that provide full wheelchair-turning space. In addition, these staterooms include a roll-in shower equipped with grab bars and a fold-down bench seat, an easy access closet and accessible writing desk. There are also many accessible shore excursions around New Zealand, ensuring meaningful and inspirational time ashore.
New Zealand is a destination for all. You’ll return delighted, with an excited family, a group of new friends and a plan to cruise its magnificence again before long.
Ka kite wawe koe – see you soon!
For more information, visit princess.com.
Images: Supplied / Shutterstock
This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Princess Cruises.