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Explore the stunning Milford Sound

New Zealand Mosaic

Dunedin - Auckland - Example 16 Day Cruise aboard Le Soleal
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Embark on a 16-day cruise aboard Le Soléal to explore the stunning beauty of New Zealand, from the majestic mountains of the South Island to the lush forests and volcanoes of the North Island. Immerse yourself in the rich Maori culture and enjoy guided excursions such as whale watching in Kaikoura and exploring Rotorua's volcanic marvels. Sail through mesmerizing fjords, visit unique destinations like Oban on Stewart Island, and experience the diverse landscapes and heritage of Wellington, Napier, and more. Your journey culminates in Auckland, the City of Sails. This cruise is your gateway to an unforgettable voyage into the wonders of New Zealand.
Amazing aerial view of Fiordland National Park on scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown, NZA quiet morning near DunedinBeautiful view of AkaroaMaori ArtVisit AucklandExplore the stunning Milford Sound
Highlights
  • Explore Dunedin, the oldest city in New Zealand, and admire its Victorian and Edwardian architecture
  • Discover the breathtaking landscapes of Dusky Sound, with its sheer cliffs, waterfalls, and primitive forests
  • Experience the serenity of Doubtful Sound, known as the Sound of Silence, and marvel at its remarkable waterfalls
  • Observe the exceptional bird life in Oban, Stewart Island, and enjoy hiking trails and relaxing on the beach
  • Sail through Milford Sound and be amazed by the majestic cliffs and cascading waterfalls
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Dunedin | Embark

Dunedin is the oldest city in New Zealand and is often referred to as the Edinburgh of the country. The city takes pride in its Scottish heritage and boasts some of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. The Silver Peaks hinterland to the northwest provides a picturesque backdrop, while the Otago Peninsula, which lies within the city boundaries, is home to internationally renowned wildlife reserves, including the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross.

Day 2: At Sea

During your journey 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 journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, 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 3: Sailing Dusky Sound | Sailing Doubtful Sound

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 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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.

Doubtful Sound is a serene and secluded location, often referred to as the Sound of Silence. It is in contrast to the more popular Milford Sound. Lieutenant James Cook named it 'Doubtful Harbor' in 1770 because he was unsure if it was navigable under sail. Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords, with a maximum depth of 421 meters. It has three distinct 'arms' and several remarkable waterfalls in the area, from Deep Cove to the open ocean. During your trip, your ship will navigate around Secretary Island through both Thompson and Doubtful Sounds. You can enjoy the scenery from the outer decks.

Day 4: Sailing Milford Sound

Milford Sound Fjord is among one of the most beautiful natural sites in New Zealand. So much beauty will 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 meters high—an abrupt relief from where impressive waterfalls cascade.

Day 5: Oban, Stewart Island

On Stewart Island, in New Zealand’s deep south, Oban can be found nestling in Halfmoon Bay. This location earned it its Gaelic name, meaning ‘the little bay’ and reflecting its Scottish influences. This town, mainly known for its fishing and tourism, is also a spot for birdwatching. Hike along the trails or take a cruise to discover the exceptional bird life. This place will delight both adventurers who love to explore and travelers looking to spend some time relaxing on the beach.

Day 6: At Sea

During your journey 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 journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, 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 7: Akaroa

Located at the tip of a peninsula on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, Akaroa is a popular resort destination, nestled in a cove formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. In the mid-19th century, French and British settlers competed for control of the area, and the architecture of the present-day town reflects these colonial influences in the galleries, craft shops, and cafés that line its streets. But what draws most people to this remote area is the abundant wildlife. Hector dolphins (the world's smallest), blue penguins, fur seals, and orcas populate the waters of the harbor, and the cliffs surrounding the bay are nesting sites for thousands of birds.

Day 8: Kaikoura

Located on the South Island of New Zealand, the small town of Kaikoura stretches between the South Pacific and the snow-capped Kaikoura mountain chain, in the heart of a natural and preserved environment, home to rich and varied wildlife. The peninsular has spectacular limestone formations, and many marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions, as well as sea birds, can be found near its shores. Initially populated by the original Maori inhabitants for almost a thousand years, the rocky coastlines of Kaikoura then served as an observation post for whalers between the 18th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

Day 9: Wellington

Crowned with gentle green hills, Wellington Harbor is located in the far south of the North Island. This city offers a charming mix of traditional and modern cultures, bestowing on the New Zealand capital a unique atmosphere that is both friendly and avant-garde. While some sites, like the large National Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, reflect the city’s Maori past, others, like the many cafés and restaurants, affirm the inhabitants’ incredible lust for life.

Day 10: Picton

A must-see entry point to the South Island, Picton is a little coastal town girded by gentle hills, located on the south side of the Queen Charlotte inlet. The cafés and restaurants that border the charming waterfront give a lovely view of the fjord. You can also get some height above sea level and walk in the surrounding areas. However, Picton is an opportunity to explore the unique Marlborough Sounds. This interweaving of submerged valleys in this area has created numerous navigable routes, which are among the most beautiful natural wonders of New Zealand.

Day 11: Napier

South of Hawke's Bay, on the east coast of the North Island, is the city of Napier. In 1931, an earthquake destroyed most of the city, which was then rebuilt in just two years, adopting the magnificent Art Deco style that was in vogue at the time. The city's unique character, which blends pure lines with traditional Maori designs, is worth exploring. Take a stroll through the city to discover its extraordinary architectural heritage. Napier is renowned for its vineyards, and wine lovers can indulge in some of the best wines from the region.

Day 12: At Sea

During your journey 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 journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, 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: Tauranga

Located north of Rotorua, Tauranga stretches the length of the Bay of Plenty, sheltered from the ocean by the island of Matakana. This coastal city boasts a flourishing economy thanks to its port and is a pleasant and pretty town with a peaceful, relaxed feel. The seafront area is contemporary and lively, dotted with cafés and restaurants. The town center reveals more picturesque charms, while the surrounding area is full of natural delights. Travel to the town of Rotorua to visit the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, a fantastic opportunity to experience an exceptional geothermal phenomenon.

Day 14: Waiheke Island

In the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island is a pristine natural gem, just 35 minutes from the city of Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand. The stunning beaches of its languid bays and the undulating landscapes forming the heart of the island perfectly illustrate the easy way of life here. This land, surrounded by the sea and bathed in light, enjoys a mild climate that is conducive to thriving agriculture, composed mainly of olive groves and vineyards. Somewhat reminiscent of Tuscany, the island is renowned for its wines. Here, Bordeaux grape varieties have found the ideal conditions for developing a rich palette of aromas. A symbol of New Zealand’s easy lifestyle, Waiheke also boasts a rich arts scene.

Day 15: Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a natural paradise, a jewel hidden in the South Pacific. Its deep-blue waters caress the beaches of golden sand as lush islands with verdant peaks emerge from the sea to form captivating scenery. It was here that in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, was signed between representatives of the British Crown and several Maori chiefs from the northern part of the North Island.

Day 16: Auckland | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest, most populated, and busiest city. Located on an isthmus linking the peninsula of Northland to the expansive North Island, it seems to float between land and sea. It is one of the few cities in the world to have two separate harbors: Manukau Harbor on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbor on the Pacific Ocean. Understand why Auckland is known as "the City of Sails" when you see the forest of masts in the marina. The 328-meter-high Sky Tower offers splendid views of the city. Surrounded by dormant volcanoes such as Mt. Eden, Auckland is noted for its abundant nature and magnificent black-sand beaches. A blend of Maori, European, and Asian cultures gives the city a vibrant atmosphere.

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
$10,800 2-3 travelers
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
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.

Notes

Please note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and are subject to change without notice.

Discounts are available for children sharing a cabin with two adults and third adult passengers in select cabin categories. Please contact us for details.

Single travelers can opt for a solo cabin - supplements start at 50%.
Included
  • 15 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 15 Dinners
  • 15 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited 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)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • 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
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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