Australia & New Zealand
To most North Americans, a cruise to Asia and the Orient defines the essence of exotic destinations. Far from home in nearly every sense, these countries dazzle and enthrall travelers with their enduring traditions, stunning beauty, and rich history and cultural heritage.
Centuries ago a Venetian merchant named Marco Polo journeyed deep into Asia, following caravan routes and the Silk Road in search of jewels, silks, spices and ivory. What he found were great civilizations and religions, already ancient when Christianity was born. Today the monuments of those vanished dynasties are the top attractions for visitors, and those who journey here can also delight in the region's stunning architecture, delicious cuisine and beautiful art.
With three-fifths of the world's population, the variety of cultures in China, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand that must be experienced first-hand to be fully appreciated. The crowded whirlwind of activity found in the cities is a blend of Eastern philosophy and Western modernity, creating a truly unique environment of temples and skyscrapers. But concealed behind high-tech industries and high-rise buildings lives a society with an ingrained sense of conservative Confucian values. Strong beliefs center around extended families, piety, discipline, respect and work ethic. A cruise offers the perfect way to travel all of these provocative, distant lands in comfort and convenience and feel the true heartbeat of Asia.
What can I do on an Australia & New Zealand Cruise?
Part of the appeal of cruising to Australian and New Zealand is the incredible variety of activities available to truly experience the excitement of these destinations. Options range from civilized to radical. Walk among Victorian buildings, tour a world-class winery or enjoy teatime at a country estate. Or perhaps you'd rather raft white water, bungee jump and jet boat all in the same afternoon. Play golf and try your hand at America's Cup yachting, or instead, go flight seeing, mountain biking or horseback riding.
Whichever level of activity you choose, be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to experience the indigenous Maori culture while in New Zealand. The Australian aboriginal people typically live in remote areas of the country that require overnight stays either before or after the cruise. Wildlife parks abound in both countries where you are sure to be truly amazed to finally see these unbelievable creatures for yourself.
One of the best ways to see city sights and the surrounding scenery is by a private car tour. Common in Australia and New Zealand, it's an affordable and flexible way to schedule your time the way you would like. And no trip to Sydney is truly complete without a harbor cruise.
Which places should I visit on an Australia & New Zealand cruise?
Because they are island nations, Australia & New Zealand are best visited via cruise ship. Australia's most popular ports of call are on its east coast, and both The Outback and The Great Barrier Reed are easily accessible from this side of the country. On one 10- to 14-Night itinerary you can visit most of the following:
- Bay of Islands
Most cruises in Australia and New Zealand operate one-way between Auckland and Sydney, or the reverse. This makes it easy to spend important extra time on land before and after the cruise to get the most out of your vacation. For example, visitors wishing to see Ayers Rock in the Australian Outback must fly there from Sydney and two nights are recommended to ensure your participation in an infamous Australian "barbee" and experience the aboriginal culture.
What is the best time to travel on an Australia & New Zealand Cruise?
Because they are located in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons in Australia & New Zealand are opposite ours. Summer arrives in December and ends in March, which is when you'll find the majority of cruises and cruise tours.
How do I get there?
Princess Cruises has the most comprehensive offering of cruises and cruise-tours, and offers regular departures throughout the season. Other cruise lines make ports of call while on lengthy Pacific voyages and world cruise itineraries. A minimum of 10 nights is required for any itinerary, but 14 nights is more common. Also, two days should be added prior to the trip, and one day after, just for travel time.