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  #1  
Old February 3rd, 2013, 12:30 PM
Adventures ahead Adventures ahead is offline
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Default Best month to cruise to NZ and Australia and best embarkation port

1. We prefer heat to colder temperatures and want to avoid heavy rains. I googled weather charts that still left me wondering about the best month to cruise. A quick search on this board revealed only one person's opinion: "...in order of preference: 1) October, 2) September, 3) March, 4) April." Do others agree?

2. Chances are that we would either end or start in Sydney vs Melbourne or Brisbane. Also considering Auckland to Sydney or vice versa. Comments please?
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  #2  
Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:57 PM
celle celle is offline
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February is usually the warmest month in NZ, although we have just had a warmer than usual January. School holidays in NZ and Australia finish around the end of January, so February/March is good if you want to cruise with fewer children. It's getting cooler in NZ by April. in NZ, September is still really early Spring - the weather does not usually become settled until January.

Australia will be hot any of those months, but January is often wet, especially in the north.

The South Island West Coast of NZ is notoriously wet, so expect rain there. However, if it rains, the waterfalls in Milford Sound are spectacular.

As for you embarkation port, I would choose Sydney over Melbourne, because sailing out of Sydney Harbour is so beautiful. Since the cruises seem to go either Australia to New Zealand or vice versa, You could choose Auckland if you want to end up in Aussie.
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Last edited by celle; February 3rd, 2013 at 02:59 PM.
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  #3  
Old February 3rd, 2013, 06:53 PM
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dizzy1948 dizzy1948 is offline
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I'm no weather boffin - but for Australia - if you look above the 26th parallel right across Australia - this is where they experience the monsoon type "wet season" which happens roughly between October & March for everywhere around/above this line, hurricanes, floods - just about the lot as far as bad weather goes. It is also hot and sticky as well - high temperatures - plenty of humidity.
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Last edited by dizzy1948; February 3rd, 2013 at 06:54 PM.
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  #4  
Old February 3rd, 2013, 06:53 PM
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Flipper133 Flipper133 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adventures ahead View Post
1. We prefer heat to colder temperatures and want to avoid heavy rains. I googled weather charts that still left me wondering about the best month to cruise. A quick search on this board revealed only one person's opinion: "...in order of preference: 1) October, 2) September, 3) March, 4) April." Do others agree?

2. Chances are that we would either end or start in Sydney vs Melbourne or Brisbane. Also considering Auckland to Sydney or vice versa. Comments please?
We have cruised to NZ three times. First was Auk - Syd in Jan on Sapphire Princess; 2nd was Syd - Auk in Feb again on Sapphire and more recently we did Bne -NZ - Bne on Sun Princess Dec - Jan;

My preference would not be any earlier than Dec (seas and weather too unpredictable), and probably would recommend either Feb or March.

Sydney is by far the best embarkation port (although Bne is more convenient for us). The one way cruises are usually on the larger and more modern ships (but with US currency on board) and they usually visit Melbourne and Hobart which gives the cruise a more balanced feel. However for Australians it means a flight either to or from Australia. O/S visitors can arrive at one port and depart from the other.

The return cruises can be ex Bne, Syd or Melb and as far as Princess is concerned they use the SunP, SeaP and DawnP respectively - although that will be changing next year when the Sun P is deployed to the Japan scene. These cruises feature 2 or 3 days at sea each way and then an itinery of 6/7 consecutive NZ ports plus scenic cruising through Fjordland. HAL and RCL also do this itinery but as far as I can see only ex Sydney.

One of the most popular cruises this year is Celebrity Solstice sailing from Sydney to Auckland on 4th March...which I would have loved to have done, except I am getting off the Solstice on the 4th March after completing a 17 night cruise over the top of Oz.

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Last edited by Flipper133; February 3rd, 2013 at 06:56 PM.
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  #5  
Old February 4th, 2013, 02:41 AM
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anandaindonesia anandaindonesia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flipper133 View Post
... ... ...One of the most popular cruises this year is Celebrity Solstice sailing from Sydney to Auckland on 4th March...which I would have loved to have done, except I am getting off the Solstice on the 4th March after completing a 17 night cruise over the top of Oz... ...
We will be on Solstice right after you.
Enjoy your cruise!
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  #6  
Old February 4th, 2013, 03:23 AM
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SUN Princess is only deploted to Japan from April through early July .

New Zealand round trip New Zealand itineraries operate from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.

For the 2013-14 season the NZ round trips start around October and finish as late as March .

From Sydney - by SUN & SEA PRINCESS between 07/10/13 and 07/03/14 From Melbourne - by DAWN PRINCESS between 19/11/13 and 29/03/14 and from Brisbane - by SUN PRINCESS .between 08/11/13 and 13/03/14

Also Sydney - Auckland and Auckland Sydney one way cruises by DIAMOND PRINCESS.between 11/12/13 and 16/01/14

Also available on DAWN PRINCESS an Australian & New Zealand circumnavigation departing from Sydney on 11/10/13 and 13/04/14
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  #7  
Old February 4th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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It was my recommendation which you quoted in your first posting and, re-reading that thread, it's possible I did not make myself clear that I recommended those months for cruising only along the East Coast of Australia. I chose those months because they provide the best weather both in the Sydney- Melbourne area and as far north as Queensland. (I know many cruisers are particularly interested in visiting the GBR in Queensland and it's extremely hot and humid there in Dec - Feb.)

However, New Zealand is another story. If you look at a map, you will see how much further south it is than most of Australia. So, its climate varies a lot from most of the East Coast of Australia. I have only traveled there in the midst of summer (Jan and Feb) and, even then, we encountered some cool days.

My suggestions would be to decide which ports interest you the most and choose a time of year that's optimal for them. So, if you are more interested in getting out-and-about in New Zealand, you would probably do best in (southern hemisphere) summer. If you are more interested in the Australian ports, especially Queensland, then you might do better going in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.
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  #8  
Old February 4th, 2013, 07:44 PM
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we just returned yesterday from 14 nights NZ cruise from/to Sydney on Radiance of Seas. Weather on way over and throughout NZ was fanatastic, so I suggest late Jan to be the be the best
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  #9  
Old February 8th, 2013, 04:11 PM
Grumpy100 Grumpy100 is offline
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We did the Sun Princess r/t Sydney to New Zealand, 13 nights back in November, 2011 and we had great weather except for the hurricane that made us change our course from the Tasmanian Sea to go between the North and South Islands. Other than that we had great weather the entire time and the seas were pretty calm.
Happy sailing.
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  #10  
Old February 10th, 2013, 11:08 AM
Adventures ahead Adventures ahead is offline
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Thanks, everyone for your posts.

We live on the east coast of Canada and are used to a maritime climate and humidity.

We're Princess fans and are looking at B2B cruises on the Sun Princess:

March 7-20: RT Sydney to New Zealand, 13 days
March 20-30 - RT Sydney to Queensland for GBR, 10 days.

The Queensland cruise is the only offering of this itinerary or we would prefer to go in February to get away from our winter. This Jan-Feb we've had too many days with windchill greater than -20C! Had a blizzard warning this weekend and some parts of the province had 30cm of snow. Last winter was a non-event, almost no snow and milder temperatures. In July and August we'll have temperatures between 17C into the high 20's with humidity. I digress.

Aside from 23 days at sea, we'd plan on a week in Sydney at a hotel. Is it an easy city to get around on your own? A 'compact' downtown and either walkable or with good public transportation to see the main tourist sites? I haven't yet had time to research this for myself and am starting with you !
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  #11  
Old February 10th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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The city is fairly walkable, but public transport isn't the best. Most of it doesn't go as far as Circular Quay, and getting there from the airport costs a bit.

Ferries are pretty good though. If you want to get to a beach I suggest jumping on one to Manly. Ferry is also a great way to see the harbour and there are sightseeing cruises that include a meal.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 04:13 AM
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Honestly March is a much better time to do North Queensland. Jan/Feb is so unpredictable weather wise, most of the region was hit with horrendous flooding at the end of Janurary after a tropical storm raged through would not have been a fun time on a cruise ship! Cyclone seasons runs until March so there is always a chance of getting one in Feb. much less likely in March. It won't be as humid either, it's very tropical over summer with 80-90% humidity and 30 degrees Celcius temps. I remember getting of the plane that time of the year and feeling like someone had slapped a damp towel over my mouth!
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  #13  
Old February 11th, 2013, 07:23 PM
Adventures ahead Adventures ahead is offline
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Default ok, March is best overall

Thanks, Jacs. This is what I needed to hear and probably explains why Princess goes to Queensland in March. Now, we'll see if this dream trip comes to fruition! Cheers!
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Old February 12th, 2013, 04:34 AM
MMDown Under MMDown Under is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adventures ahead View Post
Aside from 23 days at sea, we'd plan on a week in Sydney at a hotel. Is it an easy city to get around on your own? A 'compact' downtown and either walkable or with good public transportation to see the main tourist sites? I haven't yet had time to research this for myself and am starting with you !
Sydney is an easy city to get around. It is a walker's paradise (no big hills), with good public transportation to see the main tourist sites.

If you choose a hotel in the CBD, there is a free shuttle bus which runs around the city including Circular Quay, where all the ferries leave from. There are endless possibilities of day trips with a day public transport pass.

To get you started -
visit the NSW tourist information at The Rocks or Darling Harbour
ferry to Manly, with its many harbour and ocean front walks
ferry to Watson's Bay for fish and chips on the harbour, with walks to The Gap, The Entrance, etc.
Bus from Watson's Bay to North Bondi - walk along Bondi Beach to Iceberg, overlooking the rock pool, for lunch - longer walk to Bronte (early start) and bus back to CBD.
ferry to Taronga Zoo
walk from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach with bus back to CBD.
walk around the historic Rocks Area
walk through the Botanical Gardens to the Art Gallery of NSW (open late Wed. night)
and so on.

You'll have no trouble filling your week - enjoy!
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  #15  
Old February 12th, 2013, 07:13 AM
celle celle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adventures ahead View Post
Thanks, everyone for your posts.

We live on the east coast of Canada and are used to a maritime climate and humidity.
(Some content deleted)

The Queensland cruise is the only offering of this itinerary or we would prefer to go in February to get away from our winter. (snip . . . ) In July and August we'll have temperatures between 17C into the high 20's with humidity.
I honestly don't think you appreciate what Queensland's heat and humidity are like, even if you do live near the sea.

There's a very good reason why cruises avoid going to Queensland in February. That would be temperatures frequently up to 40C, with humidity so high that, if you sit on a plastic chair you will slide right off it. What isn't damp because of the atmosphere is damp because you are sweating so much.

Australians from other states avoid Queensland in the summer, aka "the wet".

So, much as you'd like to visit there in February, to avoid Canada's winter, I think you'll better appreciate a visit in March.

Have a wonderful cruise!
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  #16  
Old February 13th, 2013, 08:29 AM
Adventures ahead Adventures ahead is offline
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Thanks for the introduction to Sydney's CBD, and I'm sold on March. It appears that an affordable hotel will be a challenge. We were in Greece and Italy in August and temps were 31-43C. However, we didn't complain.

We haven't booked yet - things to consider, husband retiring, a month off work for me. Australia has always been on his list and, although I love to travel, I wasn't sure about flying so far but I'm slowly being reassured. It's now on my list too! Like my name, it certainly would be adventures ahead! Cheers
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