Australia, New Zealand, or tropical islands?

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#1
chicago area
722 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Been looking "down under" for a good retirement cruise. Would you recommend doing Eastern Australia, New Zealand or going into the tropical islands (leaving from Australia)? Would appreciate input from anyone who has done these cruises. I see that Raphsody, Radiance and Voyager will be cruising these waters next winter/early spring.
#2
Indonesia
2,099 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Can't comment about the islands, never been there.

We took a cruise from Sydney to Auckland last month. New Zealand is really a beautiful country with natural wonders, unique blend of Maori and Scottish culture, and amazing marine life (think dolphins!).

It takes a long flight, though.

Enjoy your cruise.
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#3
Australia
173 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Hard to compare as the three are quite different. We have done the islands and enjoyed them but I think the New Zealand cruise would be amazing as the parts of New Zealand I have seen are so beautiful. One thing to remember is that it would be quite a bit colder in NZ than it would be on the Eastern Australia cruise or the islands. If you really like warm weather cruising it is something to consider. The islands can be very hot and humid so if you don't like it too hot also something to consider.

Another option is the cruise around the top of Australia, from Sydney to Perth or vice versa, I think that is an amazing itinerary that goes to places that are pretty hard to get to any other way and it is definitely on my list.

Nice dilemma to have!

Penny
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#4
3,409 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Do both.
These cruises are worth the long flights and cost.
You will need 5 weeks to do the Aust./NZ trip.
2 weeks for the islands.
Princess offers these cruises.
#5
84,579 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
If you like beaches and things such as Snorkeling I would do the Pacific Ocean Islands but otherwise I would do Australia or New Zealand or both as these two countries are some of the best places we have ever visited.

Keith
#6
Land of Oz
369 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by PJOZ
Another option is the cruise around the Top of Australia, from Sydney to Perth or vice versa, I think that is an amazing itinerary that goes to places that are pretty hard to get to any other way and it is definitely on my list.
I think that a Cruise like that would be great.

Just search for Heavy Seas Tasman "Bass Straight" "Great Australian Bight" as I have on these three several times and certainly would not pay money

My DW ended up in hospital last time we went over Bass Straight and had to have an operation on the back of her throat from vomiting .

"Bass Strait is both twice as wide and twice as rough as the English Channel."

" Tasman Sea ... it is notoriously rough, with many ships lost there during the 19th century."

"Never sail westwards across the south of the Continent (at any time)"

"If you are nervous regarding sea states you should be aware that the southern latitudes of Australia and across to Tasmania can get rough. The Great Australian Bight, Tasman Sea, Coastal Tasmania and Bass Strait can be very rough...but often are not. It is not something you can totally predict."

etc etc

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#7
Australia
173 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by joysav
I think that a Cruise like that would be great.

Just search for Heavy Seas Tasman "Bass Straight" "Great Australian Bight" as I have on these three several times and certainly would not pay money

My DW ended up in hospital last time we went over Bass Straight and had to have an operation on the back of her throat from vomiting .

"Bass Strait is both twice as wide and twice as rough as the English Channel."

" Tasman Sea ... it is notoriously rough, with many ships lost there during the 19th century."

"Never sail westwards across the south of the Continent (at any time)"

"If you are nervous regarding sea states you should be aware that the southern latitudes of Australia and across to Tasmania can get rough. The Great Australian Bight, Tasman Sea, Coastal Tasmania and Bass Strait can be very rough...but often are not. It is not something you can totally predict."

etc etc

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Yes I would definitely want to go around the top of Australia rather than the bottom - weather warmer and seas should be calmer, although as you say you can never totally predict that.

Penny
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#8
341 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
It really depends on what you like doing / what you want to see. There are big differences between 3 different types of cruises. The best time to cruise New Zealand is Febuary or March. November to January the weather is not settled. Top end of Australia can encounter tropical cyclones as can the Pacific Islands.
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#9
uk
5,623 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Luck of the draw, we sailed over from Australia to NZ last December and the Tasman Sea was as smooth as silk .
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#10
Brisbane Australia
1,797 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by coordinator23
I see that Raphsody, Radiance and Voyager will be cruising these waters next winter/early spring.
Royal is not in Australia in Winter and early Spring. Royal is here Mid spring to Mid Autumn.
The Barrier Reef and Darwin are must sees. Sydney to Perth on the Radiance would be my pick for International Travellers. If doing New Zealand try to pick a Radiance or Rhapsody Cruise for more NZ ports. Voyager is a bit too big.
Glen
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#11
Brisbane, Australia
244 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by springaussie
Royal is not in Australia in Winter and early Spring. Royal is here Mid spring to Mid Autumn.
The Barrier Reef and Darwin are must sees. Sydney to Perth on the Radiance would be my pick for International Travellers. If doing New Zealand try to pick a Radiance or Rhapsody Cruise for more NZ ports. Voyager is a bit too big.
Glen
I think they mean in their seasons Glen.

Voyager can dock at
Auckland
Tauranga
Napier
Dunedin

There are far more Tender Ports for all Ships in the closer Pacific islands with only Noumea, Vila and Luganville allowing some Ships to Dock.

The Island Tours get a younger group of passengers compared to the longer New Zealand Cruises where the age group is normally a bit older.
#12
Singapore
5,931 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by coordinator23
Been looking "down under" for a good retirement cruise. Would you recommend doing Eastern Australia, New Zealand or going into the tropical islands (leaving from Australia)? Would appreciate input from anyone who has done these cruises. I see that Raphsody, Radiance and Voyager will be cruising these waters next winter/early spring.
We sailed on the Voyager out of Sydney, a 14 nighter.

Awesome experience.

Here is my review -
Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas Dec 2012 Australia & NZ
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1754553

We plan to do the islands some day.
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#13
Spokane, Washington, USA
1,388 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
I have a three week trip in November that does a bit of all three. But not exactly as you have asked. We are going on the 12-night Celebrity Solstice cruise from Auckland to Sydney starting November 16. This is not going to be a warm weather cruise. So we are getting our warm weather fix by taking advantage of a free stopover from LAX to Auckland via Tahiti, French Polynesia (FP). We will spend 5 nights in Moorea, FP before the cruse. Stopovers in FP are free on Air Tahiti Nui and it breaks up the long trip. This is a great way to see the "tropical islands", but probably not the islands you were thinking of.

Post cruise, we will be spending 4 nights in Sydney. We have been to Australia and New Zealand before, so we are not trying to "see it all" in one go.
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#14
Greenville, SC, USA
51,207 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We sailed on the Dawn Princess on the 28 day Australia Circumnavigation. Follwed by a 14 night cruise on the same ship to Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We enjoyed the islands, but really loved Australia.
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#15
Melbourne, Australia
1,114 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
We have done both - Sydney to New Zealand on Rhapsody (14 nights) and the Islands on Radiance (10 nights). Both were wonderful, New Zealand is spectacular and is a busy cruise with lots of ports and a lot to see. The islands are beautiful but really mainly beaches and relaxation, and I think if you have done the Caribbean it would be a similar experience, except maybe more rustic and less inhabited and less busy. (and therefore less to do and see, other than the beaches).

I am very prone to sea sickness, car sickness etc - it was smooth crossing the Tasman from Sydney, but rough on the way back, but we took Bonine and were absolutely fine. Quite enjoyed the rocking as we didn't feel sick, but you need to take the meds beforehand.

Both ships were beautiful - Radiance is a little bigger and had a bit more for our teenagers to do, but Rhapsody is just as lovely.
#16
Melbn, 'Straya
1,985 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
The fear and/or the reality of possible seasickness shouldn't be a major factor when choosing a cruise. Modern seasickness medication is cheap, widely available without prescription and it WORKS so pack it and take it if necessary.

For a once in a lifetime retirement cruise I'd pick a much more interesting and varied Oz/NZ itinerary over the Pacific Islands which to be honest can get a bit "samey" after a short time.
#17
Australia
733 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
New Zealand, especially the South Island is a magnificent country, spectacular scenery, but the only reason we are doing a cruise round this wonderful place is that we have already done 5 weeks of land based touring in 2012. And we still did not see it all!

IMO while a cruise to NZ would give you a snapshot of the country you will miss the best bits unless you are willing to pay big bucks and organise tours from your ship and even then you will have to cram a lot in, in one day. Best thing to do is to get to NZ early and spend some time viewing the South Island at least with a land based tour.

Same with Australia, it would be like flying into LA, hitting a couple of top spots and saying you have visited the US when in reality you have only scratched the surface. We are a big country with miles and days between attractions. Again a cruise will only give you a snapshot. Quick view of city life with Sydney, visit the animals in the wild life parks and that is it - no real 'Australian' experience. Again you need to come into Australia early or stay after a cruise and take some extended time visiting us.

The South Pacific however, you can get a good visit to each of the islands and a feel of the people because the inhabited areas are small. But there is a caveat with this area as well, most cruise ships sail in the cyclone season and when we did the South Pacific we missed two ports because of a cyclone. Visitors from far away lands were not impressed.

Do your homework, its half the fun. If you are happy with a quick glimpse just do your cruise but if you want to immerse yourself you need to do some land based touring as well.
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#18
Kelowna, BC
465 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
We sailed on the Voyager in Feb from Sydney to Perth - going around New Zealand. The Voyager is big, but this was a long cruise with quite a few sea days and we appreciated that the ship was big. It was a great cruise; the ports of call were all excellent. We especially loved Tauranga and Dunedin. Tacking some few days on at the beginning and end means you'll see a little more around Sydney and the fabulous west coast - which we truly loved.
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#19
NSW, Australia
2,505 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by coordinator23
Been looking "down under" for a good retirement cruise. Would you recommend doing Eastern Australia, New Zealand or going into the tropical islands (leaving from Australia)? Would appreciate input from anyone who has done these cruises. I see that Raphsody, Radiance and Voyager will be cruising these waters next winter/early spring.
All good comments on here. I would not worry too much about the possibilities of rough seas - yes some of the crossings are notorious - in a small ship/boat. Modern large ships can handle these oceans very well - in particular the Radiance class of ship.
Good advice re crossing from west to east with the prevailing winds behind you.
My preference would be to combine some land portion with a combined Australia/NZ cruise of around 18 days with a total time of 30 days. I would avoid the north of our country during Jan/Feb as it will be very hot & humid with the possibility of a hurricane.
We are planning our Alaska tour and understand exactly your predicament. So much to see is such little time.
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#20
Palm Springs, Calif
39,607 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We are booked for March 19, 2014, 13 day NZ on the ROS and can't wait. We have added following a 9 day stay post cruise, the 18 day Transpacific to Honolulu + 12 day Hawaii to Vancouver. This will be our first trip and are so excited.
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