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!