Luxury NZ Cruise

10 Day • Explore the North and South Islands of New Zealand in Style
Dunedin, New Zealand
Historic Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand
Dunedin, New Zealand
Historic Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand
Penguin Place Central Otago New Zealand
Otago Peninsula, New Zealand
Penguin Place Central Otago New Zealand
Milford Sound New Zealand
Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound New Zealand
Wai-O-Tapu Champagne Pool Rotorua New Zealand
Wai-o-tapu, Rotorua, New Zealand
Wai-O-Tapu Champagne Pool Rotorua New Zealand
Auckland New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland New Zealand

Trip Summary

Luxury NZ Cruise

10 Day Luxury Cruise - Explore the North and South Islands of New Zealand in Style

Start 2025 with an amazing adventure down under

Why not escape the heart of winter in Canada and start 2025 by escaping south for a luxury small ship New Zealand expedition cruise.  Travel in style and comfort on this special Ponant cruise encompassing the North and South islands in alliance with Smithsonian Journeys. Due to its remote location, New Zealand was one of the last places on earth to be settled and the islands developed a biodiversity that is rare. This 10-day voyage focuses on New Zealand flora and fauna, with ample time to discover some of the richness of the Maori culture and history that continues to thrive.

Le Jacques-Cartier is a boutique modern ship designed for luxury expedition cruising that is environmentally friendly and equipped with innovative technology. The ship has just 92 rooms and the interior offers light tones and open-to-the-sea design providing soft light throughout the day.  It also features two restaurants, a spa and the unique Blue Eye Lounge located below the waterline where you can enjoy undersea views and the sounds of the marine world whilst sharing a glass together. Space is limited and subject to availability, book early to secure your place!



Luxury NZ Cruise
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for prices and availability
  • Cruise Departure Date:
  • 7 January 2025
  • Cruise includes:
  • 9 night Ponant New Zealand cruise on Le Jacques-Cartier,  Port charges, unlimited WIFI onboard, evening entertainment, welcome cocktail, gala dinner, 24-hour room service, Arrival and Departure transfers between Airport and pier
  • Shore excursion in each port of call
  • Meals: All meals on cruise including ‘open bar’ of pouring wines, house champagne and alcohol except premium brands.
  • To book a different cruise, for solo traveller rates or to add flights from Canada to New Zealand (Economy, Economy or Business Class), contact our team for details and prices.

Trip Details

Included in your trip

24h Room Service
Airport Transfers


International Flights/Airfare
Travel Insurance
Items of a Personal Nature


  • Dunedin
  • Fiordland National Park
  • Dusky Sound
  • Doubtful Sound
  • Milford Sound
  • Picton
  • Marlborough  Sound
  • Napier
  • Whakatane
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Auckland


New Zealand Luxury Cruise - Christchurch (Lyttleton) to Auckland

10 Day Adventure

New Zealand Cruise Highlights

  • This voyage is specially tailored for English-speaking travelers including engaging discussions onboard with two Smithsonian Journeys Experts.
  • A shore excursion included at each port of call.
  • Explore a UNESCO World Natural Heritage area: Fiordland National Park including glacial fiords with breathtaking cliffs and waterfalls.
  • Ancient forests untouched since the dawn of time.
  • Abundant marine and bird life of both South and North Island.
  • Sample New Zealand wines along the Marlborough wine route.
  • Immerse yourself in Maori culture

Preliminary list of New Zealand excursions included in your Cruise (Subject to change):

  • Dunedin: Taeiri Gorge Railway, Wildlife Experience on the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin’s Botanical Gardens and Olvestron Historic House.
  • Picton: Iconic Wines of Marlborough, Omaka Aviation and the Flavors of Marlborough
  • Napier: Arch of the Ancestors Maori Experience, Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony
  • Whakatane: Rotorua Thermal Wonderland, Truffle Treasures
  • Auckland: Aotearoa in Auckland, Waiheke Island & Wine Tour, Bush & Beach Wilderness Experience

Sample Cruise Itinerary: 7th January 2025 (Subject to Change)

Day 1: Christchurch to Lyttleton (South Island)

Transfer from Christchurch Airport to the cruise pier in Te Whaka Raupo (Lyttleton) on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Embark the ship between 3:00pm-4:00pm. This port was the starting point for the British expeditions to the South Pole. It takes its English name from George Lyttelton (1709-1773), who was an aristocrat and colonial governor of South Carolina. This is a colourful tiny port town full of history. Here you can discover the Time Ball: constructed in 1876, it rang at 1.00 pm every day for 58 years to give Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT), enabling ship captains to set their chronometer and precisely calculate their position.

Day 2: Dunedin (South Island)

Arrive mid morning in New Zealand’s oldest city (Dunedin), that is referred to as the Edinburgh of the south. This city wears its Scottish heritage with pride and contains some of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. Experience here the spectacular natural beauty of the wilderness that surrounds the town—either by train through the Taieri Gorge, or by eight-wheel vehicles through the wildlife reserve on the Otago Peninsula to see the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross.

Day 3: Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound & Fiordland National Park (South Island)

As your ship rounds the southern tip of New Zealand, enter the stunning, glacier-carved waterways of Fiordland National Park. This protected natural area is a World Heritage site known for its narrow fjords, sheer vertical cliffs, waterfalls, shimmering lakes and primitive old-growth forests sculpted by successive glaciations. Explore one of the most remote, isolated fjords Dusky Sound where British navigator James Cook spent a few weeks in 1773. During your sailing observe the rich local wildlife: cormorants, seagulls, New Zealand fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins, a rare and endemic species.

Continue north to long and narrow Doubtful Sound, referred to as the ‘Sound of Silence’. Captain Cook named ‘Doubtful Harbour’ in 1770 as he was uncertain if it was navigable under sail. Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords with a maximum depth of 421 m. It contains three distinct ‘arms’ and several outstanding waterfalls in the area from Deep Cove to the open ocean. Your ship will spend time navigating around Secretary Island through both Thompson and Doubtful Sounds. You will enjoy the spectacular scenery from the outer decks.

Day 4: Milford Sound & Fiordland National Park (South Island)

Your last day in Fiordland is spent at Milford Sound fjord, one of the most beautiful natural sites in New Zealand. Located on the south-west coast of South Island, this sumptuous inlet carved out by glaciers advances over at least 15 kilometres inland, in the Southern Alps. Spend the day immersed in the sound’s natural majesty, taking in the views from on deck, spotting fur seals and a wide array of birdlife native to New Zealand.

Day 5: At Sea, New Zealand (South Island)

Spend a relaxing day at sea, making the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to relaxation in the spa, stay in shape in the fitness centre, swim in the pool or relax on deck. Today you can also take advantage of any conferences or shows on board, shop the boutique or meet the PONANT photographers. Lovers of the open sea will be able to visit the upper deck to admire the waves and if lucky, may see marine life.

Day 6: Picton & Marlborough Sounds (South Island)

On the northern tip of the South Island, Picton is a tiny coastal town surrounded by gentle hills, located on the south side of the Queen Charlotte inlet. Cafés and restaurants on the waterfront have great views of the fjord. This is the gateway to New Zealand’s famed Marlborough Wine Route, an area renowned for some of the best Sauvingnon Blanc. Enjoy local vintages at wineries, or explore the fascinating exhibits of historic aircraft at Omaka Airfield. Picton is above all an opportunity to explore the unique Marlborough Sounds, another beautiful natural wonder of New Zealand.

Day 7: Napier & The Hawke’s Bay (North Island)

After crossing the Cook Strait between the South and Nortrh Island, arrive on the east coast in the Hawke’s Bay city of Napier.  This town was mostly destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, then in less than two years. Today Napier is renowned as the ‘Art Deco capital of the world’ due to its inner city having one of the largest and most beautiful concentrations of Art Deco buildings in the world. Discover the extraordinary architectural heritage as you take a stroll through the city. You may continue discovering of New Zealand’s abundant fauna at the gannet colony on Cape Kidnappers, or  immerse yourself in Maori culture during a visit to the Hakikino ancestral lands in the village of Waimārama. The Hawke’s Bay region is also home to some of New Zealand’s best wines, thanks to French missionaries who first planted vines in 1851.  The region is renowned for Red Blends, Syrah and impressive Chardonnay and it produces approximately 90% of the country’s Syrah, Cabernets  and Merlot. Wine lovers will be able to taste some of the best local wines.

Day 8: Whakatane & The Bay of Plenty (North Island)

Discovered in 1769 by James Cook, the Bay of Plenty is one of the jewels of the east coast North Island. Whakatane provides an opportunity to sample the world’s finest kiwifruit and to visit a local farm that specializes in growing truffles. Or you can travel inland to Rotorua, a geo-thermal wonderland of geysers, bubbling mud pools, and hot springs sacred to the Maori, where you enjoy a performance of Maori dance, sample Maori cuisine, and visit a studio where young Maori women and men learn traditional skills.

Day 9: Auckland (North Island)

Arrive late morning in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), New Zealand’s largest and most populated city, also referred to as ‘the city of sails’. This is one of the few cities in the world with two separate harbours.  Auckland city is a blend of Maori, European, South Pacific Island and Asian cultures, giving it a vibrant atmosphere. Your last day of the voyage is spent in Auckland, where can choose a wilderness adventure in the rainforest, a tour of three wineries on Waiheke Island or explore Auckland Museum, home to world’s largest collection of Maori art—a treasure trove of New Zealand history and culture.

Day 10: Depart Auckland, New Zealand

This morning you will disembark your cruise and bid farewell to New Zealand.  Transfer from the pier to Auckland Airport for your onward flight (airfare not included).


Why not stay in New Zealand longer? Optional extensions:

Extend your time to explore more by land. Contact our team of New Zealand Specialists to customise any pre/post cruise arrangements and flights. Here are a few sample ideas (additional cost):

  • Stay a few extra nights in Auckland to see more
  • Add a few days staying at one of New Zealand’s luxury lodge hideaways
  • Travel to Paihia, Russell and Waitangi in the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga the top of the North Island.

Other Boutique Island Cruises:

We also offer other small unique and boutique cruises in remote islands such as Fiji, Tahiti, Marquesas, Samoa & Tonga, The Kimberley and more! Contact our team for details.




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Trip Code: NZL2412

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