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Explore the stunning Milford Sound

Expedition to New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands

Dunedin - Dunedin - Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Le Soleal
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Le Soleal hosts this 15-day New Zealand Subantarctic Islands cruise expedition that immerses you in an incredible world of wildlife and introduces you to the pristine grandeur of New Zealand's Fiordlands and Subantarctic Islands. This journey begins in Dunedin, New Zealand's Edinburgh, a vibrant university town. Proceed to Fiordland National Park, which is a part of Te Wähipounamu, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, and then to the Snares Islands, a wildlife haven. Finally, your ship arrives in Dunedin, bringing your journey to a close.



 
Coastal beauty of DunedinBeautiful landscape of New ZealandMacquarie IslandKing penguins, Macquarie IslandExplore the stunning Milford Sound
Highlights
  • Explore the Snares, home to more nesting seabirds in the British Isles.
  • Undertake a guided walk on the predator-free sanctuary of Ulva Island.
  • View breeding populations of fur seals, sea lions, and elephant seals.
  • Experience a Zodiac cruise and spot the rare Fiordland Crested penguin.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Dunedin

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Dunedin is New Zealand's oldest city and is often referred to as the Edinburgh of New Zealand. This city of the south wears its Scottish heritage with pride. The city contains some of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. The Silverpeaks hinterland to the North West provides a picturesque backdrop and the Otago Peninsula, which lies within the city boundaries, has internationally renowned wildlife reserves, including the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross.

Day 2: Ulva Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara) is the largest of 20 islands within Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, with an area of approx. 270 hectares. The island has never been logged and was declared pest-free in 1997, becoming one of the few predator-free sanctuaries in New Zealand. The island is now a haven for many species of birds and plants that are rare or have died out, on the mainland of New Zealand. Bird species regularly encountered include the flightless Stewart Island Weka, South Island saddleback, yellowhead, and Stewart Island robin. Ulva Island is not only a bird enthusiast’s paradise, it is also one of the few offshore islands with a largely undisturbed podocarp forest. Well-maintained tracks offer easy walking for most people providing a unique opportunity to see rare birds and plants at close quarters in a safe environment.

Day 3: Dusky Sound | Doubtful Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Dusky Sound is one of the most isolated fjords in Fiordland National Park. This huge, protected natural zone situated in the southwest quarter of New Zealand’s South Island is listed as UNESCO World Heritage. The sheer cliffs, waterfalls, shimmering lakes, and primitive forests here are each more beautiful than the next. These spectacular landscapes sculpted by successive glaciations are a source of endless wonder. In 1773, the British navigator James Cook spent a few weeks at Dusky Sound, as demonstrated by a plaque that can be seen at Astronomer’s Point. During your sailing, observe the richness of the local wildlife: cormorants, seagulls, New Zealand fur seals, but also Fiordland crested penguins, a rare and endemic species. Weather and time permitting you may explore the Sound from our fleet of Zodiac. 

Referred to as the "Sound of Silence", there is a secluded serenity that surrounds Doubtful Sound in contrast with the better-known Milford Sound. Both are part of the Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lieutenant James 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

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Milford Sound fiord is among one of the most beautiful natural sites in New Zealand. So much beauty will quite simply take your breath away. Located on the southwest coast of South Island, in the Fiordland National Park, this sumptuous inlet carved out by glaciers advances over at least 15 kilometers inland, in the Southern Alps. Majestic cliffs seem to surge out of the dark waters, rising several hundred metres high: an abrupt relief from where impressive waterfalls cascade.

Day 5: The Snares

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Amongst the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand, the Snares have the distinction of being the only forested group without introduced mammals, not even mice. Consequently, it is a remarkable haven for wildlife. The island boasts more nesting seabirds than the entire realm of the British Isles. Over 2 million Sooty Shearwaters breed here in the summer months. Four species of Albatross are listed as breeding on the Snares along with 35,000 endemic Snares crested penguins. There are also approximately 1,000 New Zealand fur seals and 500 New Zealand sea lions. Landing on the Snares is prohibited. If time and weather permit, you will have the opportunity to explore the coastal environments and view the prolific wildlife from our fleet of zodiacs.

Day 6: Enderby Island, Auckland Islands | Musgrave Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enderby Island is situated off the North-Eastern tip of Auckland Island and is the second-largest island in the group. The eradication of introduced species in 1994 has seen a significant increase in the abundance of the native flora and fauna compared to the main Auckland Island. It has become a stronghold for the rare yellow-eyed penguin and the primary breeding location of the New Zealand Sea Lion. You will head ashore and have the opportunity to undertake a guided walk on the Northern Cliffs track as well as spend time viewing the New Zealand Sea Lion colony. There is also the opportunity to undertake a zodiac tour around the coastline of Enderby Island in search of the Auckland Island Teal and other endemic species.

The Auckland Islands are the largest, highest, and biologically richest of the five groups of Subantarctic Islands. They have been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International as they hold important seabird breeding colonies. The flora of the Auckland Islands is fascinatingly diverse with over 233 species of a vascular plant. Musgrave Inlet is a picturesque bay on the eastern side of Auckland Island. Its sheer cliffs have protected the endemic flora from the introduced species, providing one of the best floral displays in the entire Island group. Landing in Musgrave Inlet is prohibited. If time and weather permit, you will have the opportunity to view the spectacular flora and fauna from our fleet of zodiacs.

Day 7: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique, or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 8: Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Macquarie Island, or “Macca” as it is colloquially known, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as a site of major geo-conservation significance, being the only island in the world composed entirely of oceanic crust and rocks from the mantle. It is an island of unique natural diversity and one of the truly remarkable places on earth. Sandy Bay is located on the East Coast of the Island and is home to significant Royal and King Penguin rookeries as well as a breeding colony of Southern Elephant Seals. You will have the opportunity to land ashore in Sandy Bay to view both the King and Royal colonies as well as the other prolific wildlife in the Bay.

Day 9: Anare Station, Macquarie Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Long celebrated as one of the wonder spots of the world, the Macquarie Island is an island of great beauty and outstanding natural diversity, a breeding place for more than 3.5 million seabirds, most of which are penguins. There are four species breeding on Macquarie Island; Royals, Kings, Gentoos, and Rock Hoppers. There are also three types of fur seals and one-seventh of the world's population of elephant seals breeding on the Island. In 1948 The Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) established its expedition headquarters on Macquarie Island. You will have the opportunity to undertake a guided walk around the ANARE Station to view the facility and the prolific wildlife that resides here.

Day 10: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique, or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 11: Campbell Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Campbell Island is the most southerly of the five New Zealand subantarctic groups. Described by the English botanist Joseph Hooker as having a "flora display second to none outside the tropics." It is known for its mega herbs, herbaceous, perennial wildflowers characterized by their great size, with huge leaves and very colorful flowers, which have developed as an adaptation to the harsh weather conditions on the islands. Campbell Island is also home to six species of albatross, and several critically endangered endemic birds including the Campbell Island teal and snipe. You will have the opportunity to undertake a guided walk on the Col Lyell Saddle boardwalk as well as undertake a zodiac tour around the coastline of Perseverance Harbour.

Day 12: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique, or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 13: Antipodes Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The volcanic islands of the Antipodes Island group lie 860 km to the southeast of New. The group belongs to New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands and consists of one main island, Antipodes Island, Bollons Island to the north, and numerous small islets and stacks. The islands are home to a wide variety of sea and land bird species including two species of parakeet. The seabirds range from the tiny storm petrel to the Antipodean wandering albatross, one of the largest flying birds in the world. There are also significant populations of erect-crested and rockhopper penguins. Landing on the Antipodes is prohibited. If time and weather permit, you will have the opportunity to explore the coastal environments and view the prolific wildlife from our fleet of zodiacs.

Day 14: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique, or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 15: Disembark | Dunedin

Dunedin is New Zealand's oldest city and is often referred to as the Edinburgh of New Zealand. This city of the south wears its Scottish heritage with pride. The city contains some of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. The Silverpeaks hinterland to the North West provides a picturesque backdrop and The Otago Peninsula, which lies within the city boundaries, has internationally renowned wildlife reserves, including the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross.

Ship/Hotel

Le Soleal

Enjoy a show in the movie theater.
Bar and lounge with a view.
Restaurant aboard the Le Soleal.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$10,670
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
The Superior Stateroom has a capacity of up to 3 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
The Deluxe Stateroom has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 4 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 5 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 6 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
The Deluxe Suite has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
The Prestige Suite on Deck 5 has a capacity of up to 4 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and an 8m² private balcony.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
The Prestige Suite on Deck 6 has a capacity of up to 4 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and an 8m² private balcony.
Owner's Suite
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Owner Suite
The Owner's suite is situated on Deck 6 with a capacity up to 2 passengers per cabin. With a king-sized bed, it has been decorated by French interior designers and provides you with a breathtaking panoramic sea view.
Included
  • 15 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners
  • 14 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Free Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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