Caledonia, Tasmania and New Zealand: 27 nights in March 2013

This is a whopper of a cruise on the Oosterdam! Leaving from Sydney and disembarking from Auckland, it fits a lot into nearly a month of cruising: 5 countries and 16 port stops!

From Sydney, the cruise heads out the South Pacific islands, stopping first at the lovely Isle of Pines after a few relaxing days at sea. This picture-perfect tropical island has white sand beaches fringed by the pines which give it its name. The next stop is Lifou, another beautiful island of New Caledonia, and then the cruise heads to Port Vila, a charming town on a natural harbour which is the capital of Vanuatu.

Isle of Pines
by Mickael T. Flickr Creative Commons

Fiji is the next destination country, with a stop in the city of Suva where you can experience traditional Fijian rituals and culture. It is home to some great markets, the Fiji School of Medicine and one of the campuses of the University of the South Pacific. The other Fiji port that the cruise calls in at is Dravuni Island, a volcanic isle home to friendly islanders. You can climb the big mountain here for great views- don't forget your camera!

Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia which mixes French and native Kanak culture, is next before a pit stop back in Sydney. The ship then moves on to Melbourne, Australia's stately southern city with more of a European feel than bold and brash Sydney and Brisbane. The final Australian port is historic Hobart in Tasmania with great museums and cafes.

After Australia, the ship heads to New Zealand with a few sea days as it crosses the Tasman. The first activity there is not a stop but a spot of scenic cruising in Milford Sound. This stunning part of Fiordland is something to remember! The first New Zealand stop is at Dunedin, student city surrounded by rolling farmland and home to the world's steepest street! Next is a port call at Akaroa, a picturesque town in Akaroa Harbour. Originally a french settlement, you will find the gallic influence to be strong. A popular activity is swimming with the tiny Hector's Dolphins which inhabit the harbour!

Milford Sound
by Kiwi Discovery Flickr Creative Commons

In the North Island, the ship stops at Wellington, capital of New Zealand. This windy city climbs the hills around Wellington Harbour, and on the waterfront you will find the fascinating Te Papa Museum. Next is the art-deco architecture and wild beaches of Napier, then the sun and surf of Tauranga and its trendy Mount Maunganui neighbourhood. The cruise stays in Auckland, New Zealand's biggest metropolis and 'City of Sails,' for 2 nights before disembarking.

Operator: Holland America
Vessel: Oosterdam
Ports of Call: Sydney, Isle of Pines, Lifou, Port Vila, Suva, Dravuni Island, Noumea, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland
Sailing Dates: March 3rd 2013- March 30th 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 27 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Sun 3 Mar 18:30
Day 2-3: At sea
Day 4: Isle of Pines, Wed 6 Mar 10:00- 18:00
Day 5: Lifou, Thurs 7 Mar 09:00- 17:00
Day 6: Port Vila, Fri 8 Mar 08:00- 17:00
Day 7: At sea
Day 8: Suva, Sun 10 Mar 10:00- 23:00
Day 9: Dravuni Island, Mon 11 Mar 08:00- 17:00
Day 10: At sea
Day 11: Noumea, Wed 13 Mar 10:00- 17:00
Day 12-13: At sea
Day 14: Sydney, Sat 16 Mar 07:00- 18:30
Day 15: At sea
Day 16: Melbourne, Mon 18 Mar 07:00- 18:00
Day 17: At sea
Day 18: Hobart, Wed 20 Mar 07:00- 23:00
Day 19-20: At sea
Day 21: Milford Sound (scenic), Sat 23 Mar 08:00- 09:00
Day 22: Dunedin, Sun 24 Mar 08:00- 18:00
Day 23: Akaroa, Mon 25 Mar 07:00- 19:00
Day 24: Wellington, Tues 26 Mar 08:00- 17:00
Day 25: Napier, Wed 27 Mar 07:00- 14:00
Day 26: Tauranga, Thurs 28 Mar 08:00- 18:00
Day 27-28: Auckland, Fri 29 Mar 18:00- disembarking Sat 30 Mar 07:00

About the Oosterdam

The ms Oosterdam is second in Holland America's line of Vista-Class ships. She has the distinctive Holland America dark wood, marble, brass, sculptures and paintings that make travelling on their ships a sumptuous experience! There is much to do and learn in the enrichment centres which include a Culinary Arts Centre and a Digital Workshop. There are also language classes, bingo and trivia competitions. For those more active there is the spa, gym and pool, and in thje evening enjoy the lounges, bar, casino and shows in the Vista Lounge. The Oosterdam's main restaurant offers both open and set seating, and top-notch 5 course menus, including an extensive vegetarian menu. The Lido restaurant is the buffet option, and the Pinnacle grill the specialty restaurant for a special evening. There is also a small Italian restaurant which requires reservations but no cover charge.

See here for great deals on the Caledonia, Tasmania and New Zealand cruise in March 2013!

New Zealand Roundtrip: 14 nights in March 2013

This amazing cruise on the Sun Princess departs from and returns to Brisbane, circumnavigating New Zealand in the meantime. The first stop after a few days at sea aboard the wonderful Sun Princess is the 'City of Sails,' Auckland. This is New Zealand's biggest city so there is lots to see and do. For great views of the area, get up the Sky Tower in the city centre! After that, the ship moves on to Tauranga, a city of beaches and the famous Mount Maunganui town, New Zealand's answer to Surfer's Paradise. Next up is the art-deco architecture of sunny Napier, then the country's capital, Wellington. Worth a visit in this hilly city is the amazing interactive Te Papa Museum, which recounts New Zealand's natural and social history in an engaging way.

On to the South Island, the ship stops at the lovely Akaroa, a small and picturesque twon nestled in the harbour by the same name, at the end of the Banks Peninsula. Here you can experience the french influence of the area's first European settlers, and swim with the tiny Hector's dolphins that frequent the harbour. Next is Dunedin, student city, and then the stunning Fiordland National Park. This is a scenic cruising port, so you won't get off the ship, but you will enjoy cruising through the beautiful fiords and sounds from the comfort of the Sun Princess. The return to Brisbane takes a leisurely 3 days at sea.

Milford Sound
by edwin. 11 Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: Princess Cruises
Vessel: Sun Princess
Ports of Call: Brisbane, Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, Fiordland
Sailing Dates: Monday 4th March 2013- Monday 18th March 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 14 nights

Day 1: Brisbane, departing Mon 4 Mar 16:00
Day 2-4: At sea
Day 5: Auckland, Fri 8 Mar 07:00- 18:00
Day 6: Tauranga, Sat 9 Mar 07:00- 17:00
Day 7: Napier, Sun 10 Mar 10:00- 18:00
Day 8: Wellington, Mon 11 Mar 08:00- 18:00
Day 9: Akaroa, Tues 12 Mar  08:00- 18:00
Day 10: Dunedin, Wed 13 Mar 08:00- 18:00
Day 11: Fiordland, Thurs 14 Mar 08:00- 17:00
Day 12-14: At sea
Day 15: Brisbane, arriving Mon 18 Mar 07:00

About the Sun Princess

The Sun Princess is one of Princess Cruise's Australia-based ships, recently updated to include the Adults-Only Sanctuary and the Movies Under the Stars feature. There is traditional a la carte dining in the Regency Dining Room, the Horizon Court buffet, a grill, pizzeria, patisserie and more included in your cruise fare, and the Sterling Steakhouse for specialty dining. Evening entertainment includes the theatres, bars, aforementioned Movies Under the Stars, lounges and the casino. During the day, you have the option of chilling out on a lounger at the pool or in the Oasis, or keeping active with the gym, sports courts and shuffleboard. Enrich your mind with classes and lectures in the Scholarsip@Sea program, shop, read in the library or find out what organised activities are taking place that day!

Sun Princess
by Suzumiya Haruku Flickr Creative Commons

 See here for a great deal on the New Zealand Roundtrip cruise in March 2013!

Australia and Asia Cruise: 14 nights in March 2013

by eGuide Travel Flickr Creative Commons

This cruise aboard the Voyager of the Seas is for those who like lots of relaxation mixed with a bit of adventure! Whilst there are many sea days on this trip, the ports are different and interesting. It is a one-way trip, leaving from Fremantle in Perth and finishing in Singapore.

The first port of call is Port Hedland in the Northwest of Australia, an important port in that region. The ship then spends 5 days at sea en route to Bangkok, one of Asia's most contemporary and culturally diverse cities. The ship stays there for 2 days to allow passengers to fully explore the fascinating city, then moves to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam, on the Mekong River delta. Here there are several water parks and great market shopping to be done. The cruise ends in the fabulously multicultural, modern and clean city of Singapore.

Operator: Royal Caribbean
Vessel: Voyager of the Seas
Ports of Call: Fremantle, Port Hedland, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore
Sailing Dates: Saturday 9 March 2013- Saturday 23 March 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of Cruise: 14 nights

Day 1: Fremantle, departing Sun 9 Mar 22:00
Day 2-3: At sea
Day 4: Port Hedland, Tues 12 Mar 08:00- 16:00
Day 5-9: At sea
Day 10: Bangkok, Mon 18 Mar 09:00- 0:00
Day 11: Bangkok, Tues 19 Mar 0:00- 20:00
Day 12: At sea
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City, Thurs 21 Mar 07:00- 19:00
Day 14: At sea
Day 15: Singapore, Sat 23 Mar arriving 07:00

About the Voyager of the Seas

The Voyager of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's bigger ships, and it will certainly keep you entertained during those sea days! When the ship was introduced in 1999, it was a frontrunner and the first to contain many of what are now Royal Caribbean's iconic features. It has 3 swimming pools, mini-golf, a library, basketball court, ice-skating rink, jogging and inline skating tracks and the Royal Promenade full of shops, eateries and bars. Dine in style in the grand Main Dining Room. Other complimentary options onboard include the Windjammer buffet, a sushi cafe and coffee and pastries at the Promenade Cafe. There are several eateries with cover charges including Portofino Italian Restaurant.

Book the Australia and Asia Cruise at a great price here!

South Pacific Cruise: 10 nights in March 2013

Isle of Pines
by Richard Taylor Flickr Creative Commons

See the South Pacific from an amazing Royal Caribbean ship on this 10-night cruise. It takes in some favourite tropical spots in Melanesia, where the french language and culture meets and mingles with the native Melanesian. First stop after a few sea days out of Sydney is the famous Isle of Pines, a beautiful island of white sand and pine trees off the coast of New Caledonia. Another island is next, the tiny Mystery Island which is part of the Vanuatu group. It is uninhabited but locals from across the water will come to share warmth, culture and wares. Enjoy this little south pacific gem! Lifou back in New Caledonia is the next port of call, an island paradise- and the next stop gets a bit more urban at Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu. This charming town is based around a natural harbour, and is a great spot to peruse the handicraft markets or just watch fishing boats come and go! The last stop is another lovely Melanesian/French fusion city- the lovely Noumea in New Caledonia. To see all the sights, take a tour on the 'Petit Train!'

Operator: Royal Caribbean
Vessel: Rhapsody of the Seas
Ports of Call: Sydney, Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Lifou, Port Vila, Noumea
Sailing Dates: Departing Friday 1 March 2013, returning Monday 11 March 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 10 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Fri 1 Mar 18:30
Day 2-3: At sea
Day 4: Isle of Pines, Mon 4 Mar 08:00- 17:00
Day 5: Mystery island, Tues 5 Mar 08:00-17:00
Day 6: Lifou, Wed 6 Mar 08:00- 18:00
Day 7: Port Vila, Thurs 7 Mar 07:00- 16:00
Day 8: Noumea, Fri 8 Mar 10:00- 18:00
Day 9-10: At sea
Day 11: Sydney, arriving Mon 11 Mar 06:30

About the Rhapsody of the Seas:

The Rhapsody is, as are all Royal Caribbean ships, sumptuous and full of fun! She has recently undergone a refit to bring her more in line with some other RC ships such as the Radiance- new restaurants, both specialty and the complimentary healthy-food option Park Cafe, technology updates and more! You can eat at the main dining room, buffet or Park Cafe or try one of the amazing specialty restaurants, including the incredible Chef's Table dining experience- if you love food, a great option is to get a package that gives meals at a variety of the restaurants at a very discounted price. Burn it off in the gym, or the pool, or on the sports courts or rock climbing wall! In the evening, the Broadway-style entertainment, casino, bars and clubs will keep you occupied.

See here for great deals on the South Pacific cruise in March 2013!