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The Ultimate 10 Night New Zealand Cruise
In this review, we’ll take you on a virtual journey through Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas 10-night New Zealand cruise, departing from Sydney, Australia, and returning to the same vibrant city. This remarkable itinerary, spanning from November 13, 2023, to March 24, 2024, offers an awe-inspiring exploration of New Zealand’s pristine beauty, with key highlights including the breathtaking Milford Sound, Dusky Sound, and Picton. Join us as we delve into the ports of call, the overall itinerary, and why this cruise deserves a remarkable 9/10 rating.
Now before we get into it’s worth making a note that before you reach New Zealand, it’s 2 days of sea crossing (technically 3 before your first port). I only make note of it cause the water from Sydney and New Zealand can be some of the roughest in the world. I’ve done this itinerary during a storm on our crossing – it was noticeable nearly.. – overall it wasn’t bad. It’s a weird feeling being in the music hall and seeing water wash up onto the windows but it’s also amazing to see. You won’t be able to play pool but you shouldn’t have to worry too much about seasickness – We hope.
First step – check our packing guide Here
Sydney, Australia Departs 6:45 PM (Day 1)
Your journey commences in the world-renowned city of Sydney, celebrated for its magnificent landmarks including the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Take a day to immerse yourself in the lively culture and stunning beaches. Depending on your check-in schedule, plan to arrive at the remarkable Sydney International Sea Terminal situated in Circular Quay. This exceptional dock offers a close-up view of the Ovation Of The Seas, accompanied by a plethora of dining choices for early arrivals to relish both a delectable meal and breathtaking vistas. Before you realize it, it will be time to embark on your voyage towards the South Island of New Zealand.
2 Days of Sea Crossing (Day 2-3)
Opt for the Deluxe Drink Package and enjoy a few drinks! Now is the perfect time to explore the ship’s entertainment, activities, and facilities. Catch a show, try your luck at the casino, relax by the pool, and savor the diverse dining options. It’s a great way to make new friends and fully experience the cruise
Milford Sound (Cruising), New Zealand (Day 4)
Milford Sound is regarded as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.’ Towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and wildlife encounters make this cruise through the sound a mesmerizing experience. Don’t forget your camera; this is a highlight you’ll treasure forever.
Doubtful Sound (Cruising), New Zealand (Day 4)
As the ship sails into Doubtful Sound, you’ll be surrounded by serene fjords and lush rainforests. Keep an eye out for dolphins, penguins, and seals that often grace this pristine wilderness. It’s a tranquil escape from the bustle of daily life.
Dusky Sound (Cruising), New Zealand (Day 4)
Dusky Sound offers a more secluded and raw experience, with its untamed landscapes and abundant birdlife. This is an excellent opportunity for nature enthusiasts to connect with the untouched beauty of New Zealand.
Dunedin, New Zealand (Day 5)
Dunedin, a charming Scottish-influenced city, welcomes you with its rich heritage and stunning architecture. Visit the historic Larnach Castle, explore the Otago Peninsula’s wildlife, or simply stroll around the city’s picturesque streets. Personally, we didn’t do too much in Dunedin – we found there just wasn’t a whole lot personally for us as 25 Year old. It was a beautiful town, just with not a lot of attractions we found.
Lyttelton, New Zealand (Day 6)
Lyttelton serves as the gateway to Christchurch, a city known for its resilience and post-earthquake rebuild. While in Christchurch, explore:
- Vibrant Art Scene: Discover street art and galleries.
- Botanic Gardens: Enjoy lush greenery and the Avon River.
- Christchurch Tramway: Tour historic sites.
- Canterbury Museum: Explore local history.
- Punting on the Avon: Relax on a river tour.
- Quake City: Learn about earthquake recovery.
- Art Gallery: Admire contemporary and traditional art.
- Antigua Boat Sheds: Row along the Avon River.
- Sumner Beach: Relax on a nearby beach.
- New Regent Street: Shop and dine in style.
Christchurch offers a diverse range of experiences, from art and history to natural beauty and leisure activities. Enjoy your visit!
Wellington, New Zealand (Day 7)
Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, offers a blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Visit Te Papa Museum, explore the Weta Workshop, or take a cable car ride for panoramic views of the city.
- Te Papa Museum: New Zealand’s premier national museum offers a captivating journey through the country’s history, art, and culture. Explore interactive exhibits and gain a deeper understanding of New Zealand’s rich heritage.
- Weta Workshop: Dive into the world of film and special effects at Weta Workshop, famous for its contributions to blockbuster movies like “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” Take a tour to witness the creative process behind these cinematic wonders.
- Cable Car Ride: Don’t miss the iconic Wellington Cable Car experience. Hop aboard for a scenic ride that delivers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its stunning harbor. It’s a perfect way to appreciate Wellington’s natural beauty.
Picton, New Zealand (Day 8)
Nestled at the head of the stunning Marlborough Sounds, Picton is a perfect coastal paradise for nature lovers. This picturesque destination boasts amazing beaches, charming cafes, and more. Explore. This was personally our favorite port (excluding Milford Sound) – this is just a beautiful town with amazing local cafes and perfect beaches it is just pure and amazing.
- Queen Charlotte Track: Hike or bike along the stunning Queen Charlotte Track, which offers breathtaking views of the sounds, native wildlife, and access to pristine beaches.
- Marlborough Wines: Sample world-renowned Marlborough wines at local vineyards. It’s a treat for wine enthusiasts.
- Scenic Boat Ride: Enjoy a leisurely boat ride through the picturesque sounds, taking in the serene coastal beauty.
- Charming Cafes: Relax at lovely cafes along the coast, savoring local cuisine and enjoying the coastal atmosphere.
2 more days of Sea Crossing (Day 9-10 )
- On-Board Spa: Treat yourself to a spa day, indulging in massages, facials, and other rejuvenating treatments.
- Relax by the Pool: Lounge by the pool, sip your favorite drink, and soak up the sun while enjoying the serene ocean views.
- Fine Dining: Savor a sumptuous meal at one of the ship’s specialty restaurants, indulging in gourmet cuisine.
- Live Entertainment: Attend a captivating live performance, whether it’s a Broadway-style show, live music, or a comedy act.
- Stargazing: Head to the upper deck for some stargazing, appreciating the beauty of the night sky away from city lights. This cannot be understated enough – This is a must-do before you get off this amazing marvel of creation
- Cocktail Hour: Join fellow passengers for a pre-dinner cocktail hour, sharing stories and memories from the trip.
Sydney, Australia Arrives 6:30 AM (Day 11) As your cruise returns to Sydney, take the opportunity to enjoy the vibrant city once more. Reflect on the incredible experiences you’ve had during this unforgettable voyage.
Overall Itinerary Review
The Ovation of the Seas 10-night New Zealand cruise offers an exceptional journey, showcasing the natural wonders of New Zealand. With its unique ports of call, including Milford Sound, Dusky Sound, and Picton, this itinerary stands out as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and those seeking unparalleled beauty. The variety of landscapes, wildlife encounters, and cultural experiences make it a solid 9/10 cruise.