We are pleased to offer this cruise to New Zealand, one of the most interesting and attractive countries in the world. This splendid12-night voyage aboard the elegant new expedition ship Minerva explores the most beautiful and historically significant regions of both the North and South Islands.
Isolated for millions of years, and the last major land mass settled by humans, New Zealand features a landscape of scenic fjords, bays and sounds, soaring peaks, tumbling waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, verdant rainforests and valleys, and inviting seashores. When adding to the great natural beauty of the country the impressive flora and fauna, much of it unique to New Zealand, rich marine life, the indigenous Maori culture, the celebrated vineyards and wines, and friendly cities, it’s easy to see why travelers consider New Zealand to be such an enchanting place to visit and explore.
An island nation, New Zealand is best discovered by ship, and the cruise we are presenting aboard the new and superb expedition cruise ship Minerva, which accommodates no more than 152 guests, is a comprehensive exploration of the country. Starting in the attractive port town of Dunedin, on South Island, we will sail south-southwest to Fiordland National Park, famed for its astonishing fjords and majestic peaks, then to Stewart, a small pristine island renowned for its flora and fauna. Other highlights of our voyage include Akaroa, sited at the head of a sheltered bay that is surrounded by extinct volcanoes; Kaikoura, known for its abundant wildlife that includes several species of albatross and sperm whales that inhabit its shore; fabulous Marlborough Sounds, an expansive area of rugged coastlines and isolated green coves; Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, and Rotorua, with its sacred Maori culture.
Our activities include a variety of enriching experiences, including touring landmark sites, exploring by Zodiac boats, viewing the wildlife on land and at sea, visiting wineries and tasting their celebrated wines, discovering botanical gardens, and attending lectures and discussions aboard the ship that will give us a deeper understanding of New Zealand’s history and contemporary scene, the Maori culture, and its fascinating animal and plant life.
We hope you will join us on this exploration of the country the Maori call Aotearoa, (“Land of the Long White Cloud”), which refers to the formations of clouds that helped early Polynesian mariners to find and settle the country.