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Explore the top-rated New Zealand small ship cruises below.  Adventure Life works with the top-rated small ship cruise lines visiting Auckland, Campbell Island, The Snares, Doubtful Sound, and Dusky Sound, and we help match you with the perfect small ship and cruise itinerary for your specific tastes and needs. There are countless advantages to exploring on a small ship cruise versus a large cruise ship including avoiding crowds and being able to visit and explore smaller ports and scenic shorelines that large ships simply cannot access. The cost of New Zealand small ship cruises start at $3,150 for a trip of 5 to 29 days in 2024. Tell us about your dream New Zealand small ship cruise and our team of travel planners will help you make it a reality.  
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    • New Zealand
Coastal beauty of Dunedin
$24,030
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Coastal New Zealand: Dunedin to Auckland

Northbound - 14 Day Itinerary aboard National Geographic Orion
  • Explore New Zealand’s diverse coast
  • See botanical gardens
  • Learn about Maori culture
  • Admire Napier's architecture
Starts / Ends:
Queenstown / Auckland
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Village Visits, Wildlife Viewing, Wine Tasting
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Board the National Geographic Orion on this unforgettable 14-day expedition. New Zealand’s unparalleled natural beauty beckons with soaring peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and swathes of white-sand beaches. Travel through scenic fjords, bays, and sounds, witness plunging waterfalls and an …
Cruise Details
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Beautiful view of Akaroa
$6,995
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The Best of New Zealand: An Intimate Exploration Cruise of New Zealand's Islands

15 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Adventurer
  • Experience the Maori culture
  • Explore Fiordland’s sounds
  • Encounter birds and marine wildlife
  • Explore Gisborne town
Starts / Ends:
Queenstown / Auckland
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Village Visits, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Aboard Heritage Adventurer, discover the hidden jewels of Aotearoa/New Zealand and its three main islands (the North Island, South Island, and Stewart Island) on this amazing 15-day thrilling adventure of coastal New Zealand. From the ‘World's Coolest Little Capital' (Wellington) to Dunedin's …
Cruise Details
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Cascading waterfall in the Milford Sound
$8,700
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Expedition to the heart of New Zealand

Auckland - Dunedin - 12 Day Itinerary aboard Le Soleal
  • Explore Auckland
  • Discover Tauranga
  • Discover Marlborough Sounds
  • Experience Gisborne
Starts / Ends:
Auckland / Dunedin
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing, Wine Tasting
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Embark on a 12-day expedition cruise aboard Le Soléal and unveil the treasures of New Zealand, a land of diverse landscapes and natural wonders. Explore Rotorua's volcanic marvels, discover Gisborne's Maori culture and local history, and indulge in the beauty of Napier's Art Deco …
Cruise Details
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Auckland, the City of Sails
$6,960
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The best of New Zealand

Auckland - Lyttelton - 10 Day Itinerary aboard Le Jacques Cartier
  • Explore Auckland
  • Experience Tauranga
  • Explore Gisborne
  • Discover Waiheke Island
Starts / Ends:
Auckland / Port of Lyttelton
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Explore New Zealand on a 10-day cruise from the North Island to the South Island aboard Le Jacques-Cartier. Discover wild landscapes, charming cities, and ancient civilizations. Enjoy included excursions in each port, such as whale watching in Akaroa, Maori traditions in Napier, and volcanic …
Cruise Details
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$3,750
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Unseen Fiordland and Stewart Island: Exploring New Zealand's Remote Backyard

6 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Adventurer
  • Explore Stewart Island
  • See different bird species
  • Discover Ulva Island.
  • Tour the stunning fiords
Starts / Ends:
Queenstown / Invercargill
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
The Heritage Adventurer is a one-of-a-kind adventure to a remote part of New Zealand's wilderness. Visit Fiordland's lonely ice-carved mountains, beautiful forests, and flowing fiords. In isolation, away from the crowds, cruise the quiet seas of Fiordland and Stewart Island in search of …
Cruise Details
0
Explore the stunning Milford Sound
$23,330
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Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound

14 Day Itinerary aboard National Geographic Orion
  • Explore New Zealand’s diverse coast
  • See botanical gardens
  • Learn about Maori culture
  • Admire Napier's architecture
Starts / Ends:
Auckland / Queenstown
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Village Visits, Wildlife Viewing, Wine Tasting
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Board the National Geographic Orion on this unforgettable 14-day expedition. New Zealand’s unparalleled natural beauty beckons with soaring peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and swathes of white-sand beaches. Travel through scenic fjords, bays, and sounds, witness plunging waterfalls and an …
Cruise Details
0
Explore the stunning Milford Sound
$10,800
EXPLORE

New Zealand Mosaic

Dunedin - Auckland - 16 Day Itinerary aboard Le Soleal
  • Explore Dunedin
  • Discover Dusky Sound
  • Experience Doubtful Sound
  • Discover Oban
  • Explore Milford Sound
Starts / Ends:
Dunedin / Auckland
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing, Wine Tasting
Activity Level:
Relaxed
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 …
Cruise Details
0
Observe beautiful fur seals
$5,295
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Southern Fiords Easter Voyage: An Exploration Fiordland's Southern Fiords Over Easter

9 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Explorer
  • Discover the scenic Wilmot Pass
  • Explore Doubtful Sound
  • Sail through Acheron Passage
  • Visit the Chalky Island
Starts / Ends:
Te Anau / Te Anau
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Set sail on this 9-day exploration of the Southern Fiords over the Easter break from Doubtful Sound to Preservation Inlet aboard Heritage Explorer. Spend two days experiencing the most spectacular scenery in Fiordland: Doubtful Sound. Photographic opportunities abound, and your time spent here …
Cruise Details
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New Zealand's remotest island.
$9,500
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Beyond Fiordland - New Zealand's Wildest Islands

12 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Adventurer
  • Explore Campbell Island
  • Visit Carnley Harbor
  • Zodiac cruise along Adams Island
  • Admire Stewart Island's beauty
Starts / Ends:
Invercargill / Invercargill
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
The Spirit of Enderby is a one-of-a-kind journey to a remote region of New Zealand's wilderness. Visit Fiordland's lonely ice-carved mountains, beautiful forests, and flowing fiords; this incredible place inspires your desire to travel responsibly. Travel alone, away from the crowds, through the …
Cruise Details
0
Coastal beauty of Dunedin
$30,250
EXPLORE

Southern Odyssey

Auckland to Dunedin - 20 Day Itinerary aboard National Geographic Orion
  • See New Zealand’s cultural riches
  • Explore Fiordlands National Park
  • Watch vibrant wildlife
  • Spot unique species
Starts / Ends:
Auckland / Dunedin
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Navigate New Zealand’s verdant coastlines to encounter pristine beaches, quiet coves, and waters filled with whales, dolphins, and seals. The soaring peaks and countless waterfalls of the country’s dazzling fjords are at their jaw-dropping best in Fiordlands National Park, where …
Cruise Details
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Explore the stunning Milford Sound
$5,295
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All of the Fiords: The Ultimate Fiordland Experience

10 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Explorer
  • Discover New Zealand
  • Sail through Fiordland's waters
  • Explore North and South Port harbor
  • Visit the majestic fiord
Starts / Ends:
Te Anau / Te Anau
Activities:
Rainforest Exploration, Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Set sail for a 10-day exploration cruise of New Zealand's Fiordland National Park, now over 1.2 million hectares in size and rightly famous for its epic, grand-scale scenery, untamed wilderness, and unique wildlife, including bottlenose dolphins, Fiordland crested penguins, and New Zealand fur …
Cruise Details
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Sea lion nestled in the seaweed.
$9,990
EXPLORE

Galapagos of the Southern Ocean: New Zealand and Australia's Subantarctic Islands

12 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Adventurer
  • Explore Macquarie Island
  • Venture on Zodiac excursions
  • View a vast array of endemic birds
  • Appreciate the rich biodiversity
  • Enjoy additional discovery by kayak
Starts / Ends:
Invercargill / Invercargill
Activities:
Adventure Options, Small Ship Cruises, Whale Watching, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Set sail on one of the most inspirational and educational expeditions into the Southern Ocean ecosystem that one may undertake around the globe. The Subantarctic Islands, located south of New Zealand, have long been recognized for their extraordinary biodiversity. They are UNESCO World Heritage …
Cruise Details
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Marlborough Sounds
$3,650
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Discover Marlborough Sounds: An In-Depth Exploration of the Marlborough Sounds

7 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Explorer
  • Explore Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Visit Tory Channel
  • Sail through d’Urville
  • Discover Pelorus Sound
Starts / Ends:
Blenheim / Blenheim
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Spend a week exploring the 1,500-kilometer-long Marlborough Sounds, which were carved out by submerged valleys 10,000 years ago. These destinations are renowned for their breathtaking natural beauty, which includes beautiful cobalt streams, classic vistas, thick indigenous forests, wildlife, and …
Cruise Details
0
$10,725
EXPLORE

Galapagos of the Southern Ocean: New Zealand and Australia's Subantarctic Islands

Hobart - Queenstown - 13 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Adventurer
  • Explore Macquarie Island
  • Venture on Zodiac excursions
  • View a vast array of endemic birds
  • Appreciate the rich biodiversity
  • Discover Campbell Island
Starts / Ends:
Hobart / Queenstown
Activities:
Adventure Options, Small Ship Cruises, Whale Watching, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Embark on this 13-day cruise aboard the Heritage Adventurer and discover breathtaking destinations with a team of highly knowledgeable and passionate experts. This expedition is an exceptional opportunity to explore the Southern Ocean ecosystem, which is both educational and inspiring. The …
Cruise Details
0
Stewart Island
$4,475
EXPLORE

Unseen Stewart Island: Pristine Wilderness and Wildlife Adventure

8 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Explorer
  • Discover Halfmoon Bay
  • Enjoy the historic views
  • Visit Norwegian whaling station
  • Explore Port Pegasus
Starts / Ends:
Invercargill / Invercargill
Activities:
Kayaking, Small Ship Cruises, Village Visits, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Experience UnseenStewart Island/Rakiura and Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara on this 8-day adventure with Heritage Explorer, New Zealand's pioneering small ship expedition cruise ship. With only 25 kilometers of road, Stewart Island is best explored by sea, especially Ulva Island, where there are no …
Cruise Details
0
Breathtaking landscapes of Antarctica
$23,020
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Scott & Shackleton's Antarctica - Ross Sea Expedition

Dunedin - Dunedin - 22 Day Itinerary aboard Le Soleal
  • Spot incredible wildlife
  • Explore unique flora and fauna
  • Follow the paths of explorers
  • Marvel at pristine ice formations
Starts / Ends:
Dunedin / Dunedin
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
An exciting voyage awaits those who dare to set foot in the rarely-visited Ross Sea and follow in the footsteps of legendary polar explorers. Set sail from Dunedin, New Zealand, and head south toward Antarctica to cruise the Ross Sea to learn about this interesting region, its history, and its …
Cruise Details
0
$3,150
Save 20%
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Undiscovered Dusky Sound: Cruising Remote Fiordland

Supper Cove Roundtrip - 5 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Explorer
  • View scenic helicopter transfers
  • See Cooper, Long, & Indian Islands
  • Explore Fiordland's Dusky Sound
  • Spot wildlife and more
Starts / Ends:
Te Anau / Te Anau
Activities:
Kayaking, Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Join Heritage Explorer on a 5-day cruise to discover the stunning Fiordland in New Zealand from Supper Cove and back. The adventure begins with a scenic helicopter flight between Te Anau and Supper Cove. Then cruise through Acheron Passage, Breaksea, and Dusky Sounds. One of the largest fiords in …
Cruise Details
0
Epic clouds over Te Anau
$3,950
Save 20%
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Northern Fiords Explorer: Expedition Cruising Fiordland's Northern Fiords

7 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Explorer
  • Experience the primordial majesty
  • Enjoy the Eglington Valley drive
  • Explore Fiordland's history
  • Sail the calm waters of Fiordland
Starts / Ends:
Milford Sound / Milford Sound
Activities:
Fishing, Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
On this 7-day New Zealand expedition cruise aboard Heritage Explorer from Milford Sound to Doubtful Sound, discover the natural grandeur and history of Fiordland's Northern Fiords. Explore the national park of Fiordland, home to bottlenose dolphins, Fiordland crested penguins, and New Zealand fur …
Cruise Details
0
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