Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific Isles Showcase Incredible Diversity Down Under
Cruises to Australia, New Zealand and the Polynesian islands combine cosmopolitan cities with verdant jungles, exotic wildlife, snow-capped mountains and fjords, plus white-sand beaches and coral reefs – all in one vacation. It’s no wonder that explorers, artists, writers and visitors have followed the siren’s song here since at least the 18 th century, when Captain Cook and his colleagues first arrived.
Moreover, whereas Cook undertook journeys that were anything but vacations, today’s cruise guests enjoy passenger-pleasing comforts and amenities onboard the member-line ships of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
“Cruise vacations Down Under feature a multitude of destinations that are a study in contrasts. Each has its own distinct cultural appeal,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA (www.cruising.org), the chief marketing organization for 19 premier cruise lines and nearly 17,000 North American travel agencies.
A continent as well as a nation, Australia encompasses the vast desert expanses of the Outback, home to kangaroos, koalas, wombats and the platypus. Another highlight is the Great Barrier Reef, a coral wonderland teeming with marine life. Australia also offers breathtaking cities, including Sydney and Melbourne, and optional flight-seeing excursions afford visitors stunning views of the Daintree Rainforest, Tasmania’s Mt. Wellington, and the Great Barrier Reef.
Southeast of Australia lies New Zealand, comprised of two main islands: South Island and North Island. Though tiny compared to its neighbor, New Zealand boasts an abundance of natural attractions and recreational opportunities that rival any place in the world. Only in Auckland can vacationers board an America’s Cup yacht for a cruise past the America’s Cup Village, with its syndicates and super yachts. Travelers can retrace the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, visiting some of the best-known sites from the film.
Since the first sailing ships from Europe dropped anchor among French Polynesia’s turquoise lagoons and coral atolls, these 118 magical islands have symbolized romance and natural beauty. Vacationers on South Pacific cruises can take in volcanic peaks shrouded in wispy clouds, mysterious rainforests, white-sand beaches, a profusion of flowers, including Tahiti’s spectacular black pearls.
Following is a rundown of South Pacific itineraries available aboard CLIA member lines in 2006 and 2007.
CELEBRITY CRUISES Celebrity Cruises introduces six 14-night sailings between Auckland and Sydney from December 2007 through March 2008 aboard Mercury. Highlights include New Zealand’s Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Milford Sound; and Australia’s Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney and Hobart.
CUNARD LINE Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2 calls at New Zealand’s Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch; and Australia’s Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns during her world cruise. Sister Queen Mary 2 calls at Auckland and Sydney, also during her world cruise.
HOLLAND AMERICA LINEHolland America Line’s Statendam sails the South Pacific half the year on Australia and New Zealand cruises during summer down under, as well as 24- to 28-day sailings that add Fiji, American Samoa and Hawaii. Ryndam's 30-day itinerary incorporates ports in French Polynesia.
PRINCESS CRUISES Four Princess Cruises’ ships offer a comprehensive South Pacific program in 2006/2007 featuring itineraries to Australia and New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti and an extended Pacific crossing. In addition, the popular "Islands of the Pacific Theater" cruise features a new port - the WWII battle site of Chuuk (Truk) in Micronesia.
REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Paul Gauguin is based in Tahiti offering year-round cruises to French Polynesian ports. In November 2006 Seven Seas Mariner features two itineraries between Singapore and Sydney and Sydney and Auckland and again in November 2007.
SILVERSEA CRUISES In December and January, Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud offers 15- and 16-day itineraries that call at ports in Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and Melanesia. Two Silver Shadow world cruise segments visit ports in Australia and New Zealand in February.
The best way to learn more about these exciting itineraries is to seek the professional counsel of a CLIA travel agent.
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