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A quiet morning near Dunedin

New Zealand's North and South Islands by Sea – with Smithsonian Journeys

Lyttelton - Auckland - Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Le Jacques Cartier
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Embark on a 10-day cruise of New Zealand's North and South Islands by sea with Smithsonian Journeys aboard Le Jacques Cartier. Remote and rich in biodiversity, these islands boast unique flora and fauna shaped by centuries of isolation. Departing from Lyttleton, navigate to Dunedin to experience the town's natural wonders via train or eight-wheel-drive vehicles. Sail through Fiordland National Park, encountering wildlife in Dusky Sound and marveling at Doubtful Sound's beauty. The journey concludes in Milford Sound, surrounded by the Southern Alps. After a relaxing day at sea, explore Picton's Marlborough Wine Route or Omaka Airfield. North Island visits include Napier's gannet colony or Hakikino ancestral lands, while Whakatane offers kiwifruit tasting and Rotorua's geothermal wonders.
A beautiful view of Milford Sound.Experience the local culture of New Zealand.Auckland, the City of SailsObserve beautiful fur sealsClear Water and Tropical IslandExplore the stunning Milford SoundLake and mountains in Milford Sound, South Island, New ZealandA quiet morning near Dunedin
Highlights
  • Discover Fiordland Park, a UNESCO site of natural wonder
  • Marvel at fjords, cliffs, and waterfalls in glacial beauty
  • Witness diverse marine and bird life on South and North Islands
  • Explore Maori culture in Napier, Rotorua, and Auckland's charm
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Lyttelton | Embark

On the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Lyttelton (or Te Whaka Raupo in the Maori language) served, thanks to its proximity with Ross Island, as the starting point for the British expeditions in the mythical age of the South Pole explorations. It takes its name from George Lyttelton (1709-1773), an aristocrat and colonial governor of South Carolina. In this colorful port town full of history, you’ll be able to discover the Time Ball: constructed in 1876, it rang at 1.00 pm every day for 58 consecutive years to give Greenwich meridian time, enabling ship captains to set their chronometer and very precisely calculate their position.

Day 2: Dunedin

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 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 3: Sailing 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, and Fiordland crested penguins, a rare and endemic species.

Referred to as the Sound of Silence, there is a secluded serenity that surrounds Doubtful Sound in contrast with the better-known Milford Sound. 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: Sailing Milford Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Milford Sound fjord 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 meters high: an abrupt relief from where impressive waterfalls cascade.

Day 5: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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, 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 6: Picton

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 which border the charming waterfront give a very lovely view of the fjord. You can also decide to get some height above sea level and walk in the surrounding areas. However, Picton is above all 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 7: Napier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the east coast of the North Island, south of Hawke’s Bay, you’ll find Napier. Mostly destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, reviving from its ashes in less than two years, it grew into a magnificent Art Deco-style city, very in-vogue at the time. With its pure lines mixed with traditional Maori designs, the singular New Zealand character of this city will intrigue you. You’ll discover all this extraordinary architectural heritage as you take a stroll through the city. Famous for its vineyards, wine lovers will be able to taste some of the best wines from the region.

Day 8: Whakatane

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Lying to the east of Tauranga, Whakatane stretches the entire length of the Bay of Plenty, protected by the outlying Matakana Island. Discovered in 1769 by James Cook, the Bay of Plenty is one of the jewels of the North Island. You can also reach the town of Rotorua and the unmissable thermal wonderland of Wai-O-Tapu, combining volcanic valleys and geysers for an exceptional geothermic experience. Boasting a strong Maori culture, Whakatane will not fail to surprise you with its history and its authenticity.

Day 9: Auckland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 Harbour on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. You will understand why Auckland is known as "the City of Sails" when you see the forest of masts in the marina. The 328-metre-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.

Day 10: 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 Harbour on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. You will understand why Auckland is known as "the City of Sails" when you see the forest of masts in the marina. The 328-metre-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.

Disembark after breakfast.

Ship/Hotel

Le Jacques Cartier

Swimming pool
Le Jacques Cartier Restaurant
Le Jacques Cartier - Panorama View

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$8,212
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 4
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 5
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 6
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 3
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 4
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 5
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 6
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Prestige Deck Suite
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Prestige Deck 5 Suite
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Deck Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Privilege Suite
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Privilege Suite Deck 6
32 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Privilege Suite
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Privilege Suite Deck 5
32 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Grand Deluxe Suite
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Grand Deluxe Suite Deck 6
45 m² area featuring, 40m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Bathtub
Owner Suite
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Owner's Suite
45 m² area featuring an 30m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower

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.
Included
  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
  • 9 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. 
  • A program of onboard enrichment provided by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts
  • Transfer from the ship to the airport at the end of the cruise on the morning of disembarkation.
  • One included shore excursion in each port of call (see “Itinerary” for more information and choice of excursions, if applicable)
  • Transfers and luggage handling from the airport to the ship on the day of embarkation.
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

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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