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Explore the top-rated New Zealand small ship cruises below.  Adventure Life works with all the top-rated small ship cruise lines visiting Campbell Island, The Snares, Invercargill, Dunedin, and Auckland, 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 $2,915 for a trip of 6 to 34 days in 2023. 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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Beautiful view of Akaroa
$7,685
EXPLORE

New Zealand's East Coast

13 Day Itinerary aboard Coral Geographer
  • Enjoy a New Year’s Eve cruise
  • Experience the Maori culture
  • Explore Fiordland’s sounds
  • Encounter birds and marine wildlife
Starts / Ends:
Auckland / Queenstown
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Village Visits, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
AboardCoral Geographer, experience New Zealand from a different perspective, as free time and the ability to customize your expedition from a choice of experiences in historic cities is contrasted with wilderness experiences guided by the knowledgeable expedition team. By small ship, enjoy access …
Cruise Details
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Cascading waterfall in the Milford Sound
$9,575
EXPLORE

Expedition to the Albatross Latitudes: The Subantarctic & Chatham Islands

17 Day Itinerary aboard Coral Geographer
  • Explore Dusky and Doubtful Sounds
  • Discover Subantarctic islands
  • Spend time on Chatham Islands
  • Spot incredible wildlife
Starts / Ends:
Queenstown / Wellington
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Village Visits, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
AboardCoral Geographer, discover why these islands are part of New Zealand’s Subantarctic UNESCO World Heritage site. Each wilderness experience is guided by our knowledgeable expedition team, as you spot rare birds, hike through wonderful fields of mega herbs and encounter numerous species …
Cruise Details
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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, Village Visits, 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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Sea lion nestled in the seaweed.
$8,450
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, Kayaking, 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
0
Explore the stunning Milford Sound
$23,330
EXPLORE

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
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Bay of Islands
$2,915
Savings
EXPLORE

Islands of the Hauraki Gulf: Expedition Cruising the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Islands

8 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Explorer
  • Explore Tiritiri Matangi Island
  • Visit Great Barrier Island
  • Sail over to Mokohinau Islands
  • Discover Whangamumu Harbour cove
Starts / Ends:
Auckland / Auckland
Activities:
Fishing, Kayaking, Small Ship Cruises
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Explore remote, hidden island paradises on foot, kayak, and on the luxurious expedition vessel Heritage Explorer as you sail through the Hauraki Gulf Islands. Take in lectures, learn about life above and below the water, and pick up pro tips during a photography masterclass led by one of New …
Cruise Details
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New Zealand's remotest island.
$8,445
EXPLORE

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, …
Cruise Details
0
$10,335
EXPLORE

World Heritage Islands of the Sub-Antarctic

Bluff to Melbourne - 13 Day Itinerary aboard Coral Geographer
  • Explore World Heritage areas
  • Explore penguin colonies
  • Learn history and heritage
  • Encounter the Sitka Spruce
Starts / Ends:
Port of Bluff / Melbourne
Activities:
Archaeological Site Visits, Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Discover the sub-Antarctic islands of Australia and New Zealand which are home to rare seabirds and marine mammals that have thrived in rugged isolation on this 13-day World Heritage Islands of the Sub-Antarctic Expedition cruise aboard Coral Geographer. Visit the largely untouched World Heritage …
Cruise Details
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Queenstown, New Zealand
$5,075
EXPLORE

Unseen Fiordland, Stewart Island and The Snares: Exploring New Zealand's Remote Backyard

8 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Adventurer
  • Explore Stewart Island's coast
  • Visit The Snares Island
  • Discover Ulva Island birdlife
  • Explore fiords wilderness
Starts / Ends:
Queenstown / Invercargill
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
The Heritage Adventurer offers a unique, 8-day expedition to the special region of the New Zealand wilderness. Visit the remote ice-carved mountains, verdant forests, and winding fiords of Fiordland. Travel the calm waters of Fiordland and Stewart Island in solitude, away from the crowds, on the …
Cruise Details
0
$3,675
EXPLORE

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
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Explore the stunning Milford Sound
$5,645
EXPLORE

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
0
Stewart Island
$3,695
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
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Marlborough Sounds
$3,445
EXPLORE

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
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Visit beautiful Auckland
$8,299
EXPLORE

New Zealand Yacht Harbors

15 Day Itinerary aboard Seabourn Odyssey
  • Explore Tauranga's geysers
  • Tour Christchurch's stunning parks
  • See the urban city of Wellington
  • Experience Maori culture
Starts / Ends:
Auckland / Sydney
Activities:
Archaeological Site Visits, Small Ship Cruises, Urban Exploration, Wine Tasting
Activity Level:
Relaxed
Follow in the footsteps of hobbits and orcs as you cruise along New Zealand's stunning South Island. Experience the city of two harbors in Auckland with its abundance of activities, from sailing to trekking. Hike through native woodland and along golden sand beaches, then leisurely cycle to a …
Cruise Details
0
Hiking in Antarctica is rewarded with spectacular views
$55,640
EXPLORE

Epic Antarctica: From the Peninsula to the Ross Sea & Beyond

34 Day Itinerary aboard National Geographic Endurance
  • Discpver four different regions
  • Encounter the big tabular icebergs
  • Explore New Zealand & Australia
  • Kayak in pristine bays
  • Observe abundant wildlife
Starts / Ends:
Buenos Aires / Auckland
Activities:
Hiking, Kayaking, Small Ship Cruises, Whale Watching, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
This extraordinary new 34-day voyage is like a blockbuster film—the star is the seventh continent. And the co-stars are the big ice of remote West Antarctica, where we are sure to set foot on ice where no other humans ever have; the prolific wildlife and impressive ice shelf of the Ross Sea …
Cruise Details
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Ushuaia in the evening
$28,450
EXPLORE

Ross Sea | Incl. helicopters

Ushuaia to Bluff, NZ - 33 Day Itinerary aboard Ortelius
  • Sail along the Ross Ice Shelf
  • Visit the U.S. McMurdo Station
  • See vast Adélie penguin colonies
  • Follow the routes of past explorers
Starts / Ends:
Port of Ushuaia / Invercargill
Activities:
Helicopter Tours, Small Ship Cruises, Whale Watching, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
This is your ultimate chance to sail to the southern parts of the Antarctic Peninsula, Peter I Island, the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas into the Ross Sea, visiting Shackleton’s and Scott’s huts, Mc Murdo Station, the Dry Valleys and Campbell Island Island. This 33-day voyage offers …
Cruise Details
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Breathtaking landscapes of Antarctica
$23,990
EXPLORE

Scott & Shackleton's Antarctica - Ross Sea Expedition

Dunedin - Hobart - 23 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 / Hobart
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
$28,450
EXPLORE

In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton: Ross Sea Antarctica

28 Day Itinerary aboard Heritage Adventurer
  • Visit the Ross Sea region
  • Experience nature on a grand scale
  • View relics of early exploration
  • Observe penguins, seals, and whales
  • Enjoy shore landings on islands
Activities:
Small Ship Cruises, Whale Watching, Wildlife Viewing
Activity Level:
Relaxed
The Ross Sea region of Antarctica is one of the most remote places on Planet Earth and one of the most fascinating places in the continent's human history. With shipping restricted by impenetrable pack ice to just two brief months each austral summer, few people have ever visited this strange …
Cruise Details
0
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