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? for those who have cruised Australia/New Zealand in March, or even better, in both February and March.


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55 minutes ago, mlbcruiser said:

What is the issue getting into Akaroa? More weather or see conditions or both?

I wonder if the size of the ship has anything to do with it because of stability, or the navigation is difficult due to rocks or depth, or if some lines tend to cancel more frequently than others? I guess it’s just like flying and it’s up to the captain.

getting into Akaroa requires the captain to work through a dog leg and sometimes the weather and wind gives him pause to think it is not worth the danger.

 

I have done 5/6 NZ cruises from Australia going in both directions around NZ so starting with the Fiords and also ending with the Fiords and we have not missed them once.  As said the luck of the draw.

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Just came back from Bay of Islands, Northland area in NZ - 2 perfect days - 2 average overcast days - boat trips would have been fine - 2 terrible days gales, heavy rain - boats cancelled.! And that's supposed to be the winterless north! 

 

If you want to go into the Fiords and the more remote areas of southern Nz - have a look at asmaller ships e.g. Heritage Expeditions https://www.heritage-expeditions.com/ - just came back from their unseen NZ trip - was amazing. Seeing the fiords and being able to land via a zodiac is an amazing experience. Personally being on a huge cruise ship which often can't enter because of weather - would be a very average experience. Or do a land trip and include a cruise of Doubtful or Miford sound - there are plenty of overnights. Far more likely to be a worthwhile trip 

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32 minutes ago, mr walker said:

 

Reports of missing Akaroa are common, and we were lucky to get into Dunedin in Jan one time due to fog, which delayed our arrival by many hours.

 

 

Akaroa was only a  cruise port because of the damage to Lyttleton after the earthquakes. That has been repaired now so I expect major ships will now revert to Lyttleton (which is a major port not a pretty tender port like Akaroa) https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/lyttelton-christchurch-port-570

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That sounds a bit how it can be for Grand Cayman if you are cruising there in March. Sometimes the wind can get pretty strong in March. There is a lot of coral around the island and ships must be careful going there. They dock offshore and tender people in. We have arrived there when all water activities were cancelled but at least always did get to get on the island. Have friends who were unable to on two different occasions. Guess it can happen anywhere. But some places are definitely more likely to have it happen than others!

I didn’t realize Dunedin and Akaroa could also be at risk.

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1 hour ago, mlbcruiser said:

Is it mostly fog and or rain that is the weather issue? 
is it also common to miss entering the fjords in February and March?

 

The entrances to the various sounds are quite narrow and are exposed to the south-west. Strong winds or high seas are what stops the ships getting into the sounds. Even on goid days there might be fog wreathing around the tops of the mountains in the morning but it usually clears fairly quickly. Although there is always a slight risk, missing them in Feb/Mar is less common. The majority of misses tend to be in November and December.

 

I think Akaroa is more affected by winds than sea conditions. We've got in there all three times. 

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My previous post posted after a couple of replies hit that I didn’t see. Some interesting information! I’m very happy to get these responses. Lissie, we have always done tons of independent things and have done lots of  land trips (mostly on our own ) in the past. My husband definitely has some restrictions now as of about five years ago, so things have changed. I don’t even think he could manage to climb out of a  zodiac anymore. A friend did an overnight excursion when she cruised to New Zealand 2 yrs ago. They missed one night on the ship, therefore,  but got a night on land, A bus tour, and entry along the road with a think a boat ride on one of the fjords the next day. She highly recommended it. She said the excursion was pretty pricey. I’m sure most lines offer something like that. I’ve any of you reading this done such an excursion?

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Some of you have had very good luck multiple times getting into the fjords. I’d be interested in finding out what month you went if you are someone who managed to see the fjords from a ship. Either just once or multiple times.

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9 minutes ago, mlbcruiser said:

My previous post posted after a couple of replies hit that I didn’t see. Some interesting information! I’m very happy to get these responses. Lissie, we have always done tons of independent things and have done lots of  land trips (mostly on our own ) in the past. My husband definitely has some restrictions now as of about five years ago, so things have changed. I don’t even think he could manage to climb out of a  zodiac anymore. A friend did an overnight excursion when she cruised to New Zealand 2 yrs ago. They missed one night on the ship, therefore,  but got a night on land, A bus tour, and entry along the road with a think a boat ride on one of the fjords the next day. She highly recommended it. She said the excursion was pretty pricey. I’m sure most lines offer something like that. I’ve any of you reading this done such an excursion?

Your friend's excursion sounds like one that Princess offers. Passengers leave the ship when it is in Milford Sound and travel overland (one night's accommodation) and meet the ship at its next port, Dunedin. Your friend's tour might have been in the reverse direction. I have heard good reports on this tour, but it is pricey. You would see some extra sights in the land travel, but you would miss the other fiords, south of Milford. They are lovely, but not as spectacular as Milford.

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4 minutes ago, mlbcruiser said:

Some of you have had very good luck multiple times getting into the fjords. I’d be interested in finding out what month you went if you are someone who managed to see the fjords from a ship. Either just once or multiple times.

Our cruises (all successful for the fiords) were in November, December, January or February.

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2 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

Is it mostly fog and or rain that is the weather issue? 

 

I had a wonderful cruise around the South Island of New Zealand, and back to Australia, in March 2019. We sailed into all the fiords as per our schedule - four in total I think or maybe five. The day prior to our arrival the area had had one metre of rain in 24 hours -  I guess being mountainous the weather can be unstable. It's also a very lush country so they do get lots of rain. The fiords are narrower than those you might know from say Norway, so I suppose local weather conditions could be more likely to impact the safety of taking water craft into them.

 

I also sailed in March, 2018 from New Zealand to Australia - just a quick four day crossing; the sea is a bit bouncy but no big deal. If you need a mill pond, better to choose a cruise which stays close to the shore line.

 

Summer in Australia is hot and getting hotter; if it were me, I'd choose March over February as the weather is usually milder although still pleasant. In March, New Zealand can be anything ( as others have said) but it's not super cold; in fact the worst sunburn I've had in decades I got in Auckland in March, 2018 - longish walk, sleeveless top - made the mistake of thinking 'It's March in NZ - how hot can it be?'. Answer was very hot, and very strong sun.

 

Also, if I were coming from the States, I wouldn't be planning to do this trip anytime prior to 2023 - I don't think you'll be able to come this way early next year.

 

Best of luck and enjoy planning your trip!

 

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1 hour ago, mlbcruiser said:

My previous post posted after a couple of replies hit that I didn’t see. Some interesting information! I’m very happy to get these responses. Lissie, we have always done tons of independent things and have done lots of  land trips (mostly on our own ) in the past. My husband definitely has some restrictions now as of about five years ago, so things have changed. I don’t even think he could manage to climb out of a  zodiac anymore. A friend did an overnight excursion when she cruised to New Zealand 2 yrs ago. They missed one night on the ship, therefore,  but got a night on land, A bus tour, and entry along the road with a think a boat ride on one of the fjords the next day. She highly recommended it. She said the excursion was pretty pricey. I’m sure most lines offer something like that. I’ve any of you reading this done such an excursion?

I hear - you we've always been backpackers - but with my  partner's health issues we took up cruising.  We saw this  boat in Doubtful - this is the itnerary https://www.doubtfulsound.com/itinerary - I've down the  single day version  of it. If you partner can get on  and off a  tour bus unaided I should think he could manage it.  Queenstown is well connected by air to the rest of the country (even Australia in the old days 😞

 

The large ships can also be banned from entering if there has been heavy rain and there is  a lot of debris in the water.  There is some talk of banned them entirely. The issue is that these are pristine national park areas and any oil spill would be catastrophic  

 

The fist pic is the doubtful sound ship, 2nd - its always misty / rainy in Fiordland/ why zodiacs are cool! Getting off the zodiac on land is optional and pretty easy if you don't care about getting wet feet. Getting on can be more challenging - 

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Have done eight NZ cruises (both directions) and was lucky enough to get into the Fiords every time (all kinds of weather making for quite varied experiences). Months travelled: Oct (1), Dec (3), Feb (3), Apr (1). Also did a land trip (March) which included an overnite on Milford Sound (a fabulous experience in perfect weather).

 

Missed Akaroa once (out of 7 times) in April 2019 due to high winds.

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We missed Milford Sound in Dec 2019 due to gale force winds in the Tasman (coming from Melb).  We couldn't pick up the pilot.  However ships coming in the opposite direction from Dunedin who already had the pilot onboard managed to get in the same day.

 

So far never had a problem with Akaroa but if the ship cannot hold its position at anchor for any reason then it may be a problem with the mud flats there.  Am going to miss Akaroa, it is lovely.

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2 hours ago, Aus Traveller said:

Your friend's excursion sounds like one that Princess offers. Passengers leave the ship when it is in Milford Sound and travel overland (one night's accommodation) and meet the ship at its next port, Dunedin. Your friend's tour might have been in the reverse direction. I have heard good reports on this tour, but it is pricey. You would see some extra sights in the land travel, but you would miss the other fiords, south of Milford. They are lovely, but not as spectacular as Milford.

Celebrity also offer that excursion.

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26 minutes ago, Ondine said:

So far never had a problem with Akaroa but if the ship cannot hold its position at anchor for any reason then it may be a problem with the mud flats there.  Am going to miss Akaroa, it is lovely.

 

The problem we had with Akaroa was entering the harbour. From memory the upper wind limit is 30kn and we had sustained winds of 35kn+ but it was a beautiful sunny day and we had a 'consolation prize' of a pod of dolphins swimming right next to the ship for almost two hours as we slowly cruised onwards to Picton 🙂

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The pictures are beautiful! I’m sure my husband could handle the type of boat in the photo and tour link, and he is able to board a bus. (We have been on zodiacs before but not an option now for DH. ) Until 5 yrs ago we were able to do activities from diving to snow skiing to ziplining and mo.  Even went hang gliding once! (It was the most fun thing you can imagine!)  So the Queenstown area would’ve been a must before five years ago but not likely now, unfortunately. My friend was on a Royal Caribbean ship when she did that pricey overnight excursion.  I do realize that there is a chance cruises will still not be running in the area yet in early 2022. However many cuise lines are allowing credits for future cruises if a cruise cannot sail and we will likely be able to put the money towards something else if it doesn’t pan out. Airfare is a bit trickier but lots of airlines  are allowing credits as well without big change fees for at least a while longer. Admittedly,  things are  still up in the air. One thing nice when you are not on an organized tour, especially if you are driving yourself around the country,  is you can often keep an eye on the weather in a particular location you plan to visit and perhaps switch your itinerary around a little bit at the last minute. Wish that worked on a cruise! Just have to think positive & go for it. 

On some cruise lines’  itineraries they list the fjords individually with a date for visiting each fjord. Yet on other itineraries, the same number of days are used and they just list “Fjordland”as the place the ship will be over a particular date range. I thought maybe they didn’t want to commit to a particular fjord because of the weather but perhaps it just means they aren’t necessarily going to those major fjords that are so often listed. Does anyone know?
 

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7 minutes ago, mlbcruiser said:

The pictures are beautiful! I’m sure my husband could handle the type of boat in the photo and tour link, and he is able to board a bus. (We have been on zodiacs before but not an option now for DH. ) Until 5 yrs ago we were able to do activities from diving to snow skiing to ziplining and mo.  Even went hang gliding once! (It was the most fun thing you can imagine!)  So the Queenstown area would’ve been a must before five years ago but not likely now, unfortunately. My friend was on a Royal Caribbean ship when she did that pricey overnight excursion.  I do realize that there is a chance cruises will still not be running in the area yet in early 2022. However many cuise lines are allowing credits for future cruises if a cruise cannot sail and we will likely be able to put the money towards something else if it doesn’t pan out. Airfare is a bit trickier but lots of airlines  are allowing credits as well without big change fees for at least a while longer. Admittedly,  things are  still up in the air. One thing nice when you are not on an organized tour, especially if you are driving yourself around the country,  is you can often keep an eye on the weather in a particular location you plan to visit and perhaps switch your itinerary around a little bit at the last minute. Wish that worked on a cruise! Just have to think positive & go for it. 

On some cruise lines’  itineraries they list the fjords individually with a date for visiting each fjord. Yet on other itineraries, the same number of days are used and they just list “Fjordland”as the place the ship will be over a particular date range. I thought maybe they didn’t want to commit to a particular fjord because of the weather but perhaps it just means they aren’t necessarily going to those major fjords that are so often listed. Does anyone know?
 

You tend to just sail in and out of the fiords on those cruises, at least that's how it was done on mine. I don't see how they could do it any other way - there certainly wasn't room for mooring, nor would it have been appropriate given the cruise ships are so large. So you can go and  out of four or five of them in an afternoon. It's a 'cruise-by'.

 

 

 

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Yes I assumed that was the case. But I don’t know why some fjords are listed in the visually on some itineraries and other itineraries it just says Fjordland.. wasn’t sure if it was just semantics or might involve different fjords in that area of New Zealand. ???

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Just now, mlbcruiser said:

Yes I assumed that was the case. But I don’t know why some fjords are listed in the visually on some itineraries and other itineraries it just says Fjordland.. wasn’t sure if it was just semantics or might involve different fjords in that area of New Zealand. ???

Maybe they're just keeping their options open. The one I went on was described as 'Fiordland - sail by' or cruise by or something so I assumed we would just sail past the entrances to the fiords along the coast line so it was a pleasant surprise when we went in and out of several. I think it's hard for them to predict due to the weather but you could either ring the cruise line and ask what their usual intention is, or ask here for past experience with any particular cruise line. Mine was with Cunard.

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25 minutes ago, mlbcruiser said:

The pictures are beautiful! I’m sure my husband could handle the type of boat in the photo and tour link, and he is able to board a bus. (We have been on zodiacs before but not an option now for DH. ) Until 5 yrs ago we were able to do activities from diving to snow skiing to ziplining and mo.  Even went hang gliding once! (It was the most fun thing you can imagine!)  So the Queenstown area would’ve been a must before five years ago but not likely now, unfortunately. My friend was on a Royal Caribbean ship when she did that pricey overnight excursion.  I do realize that there is a chance cruises will still not be running in the area yet in early 2022. However many cuise lines are allowing credits for future cruises if a cruise cannot sail and we will likely be able to put the money towards something else if it doesn’t pan out. Airfare is a bit trickier but lots of airlines  are allowing credits as well without big change fees for at least a while longer. Admittedly,  things are  still up in the air. One thing nice when you are not on an organized tour, especially if you are driving yourself around the country,  is you can often keep an eye on the weather in a particular location you plan to visit and perhaps switch your itinerary around a little bit at the last minute. Wish that worked on a cruise! Just have to think positive & go for it. 

On some cruise lines’  itineraries they list the fjords individually with a date for visiting each fjord. Yet on other itineraries, the same number of days are used and they just list “Fjordland”as the place the ship will be over a particular date range. I thought maybe they didn’t want to commit to a particular fjord because of the weather but perhaps it just means they aren’t necessarily going to those major fjords that are so often listed. Does anyone know?
 

the day in Fiordland is just one day. If sailing 'anti-clockwise' around NZ, the ship enters Milford Sound early in the morning (probably around 6.30 or so), sails to near the end and stops so any pax can disembark for the land tour. The ship's photographers take some photos and the ship turns on the spot before sailing out. That gives passengers time to have lunch and a break while the ship leaves Milford and sails an hour or so down the coast. Then they go into the next Sound and continue from there for most of the afternoon.

 

My opinion is that it is a toss-up whether a person should go on the land tour or not. You would miss the other Sounds and, from what I understand, you would not have a full day in Dunedin. For me, the deciding factor to say that it would not be worth it would be the fairly high cost. If it was a 'free' option with the cruise, I would do it one time, but not on the next cruise. I wouldn't fret over the fact that you feel it isn't for you.😁

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4 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

Some of you have had very good luck multiple times getting into the fjords. I’d be interested in finding out what month you went if you are someone who managed to see the fjords from a ship. Either just once or multiple times.

Went once, March 8th cruise 2020 out of Sydney.  Got to see the fjords first and then docked at Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington and Napier.  Weather in fjords was sunny and in the 60's.  All four ports were also sunny and high 60's to low 70's.

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7 minutes ago, LittleFish1976 said:

Maybe they're just keeping their options open. The one I went on was described as 'Fiordland - sail by' or cruise by or something so I assumed we would just sail past the entrances to the fiords along the coast line so it was a pleasant surprise when we went in and out of several. I think it's hard for them to predict due to the weather but you could either ring the cruise line and ask what their usual intention is, or ask here for past experience with any particular cruise line. Mine was with Cunard.

From what I have seen, all the cruise lines do the same thing, but some in reverse. Sail into several sounds - Milford is in and back out the same way, back to the ocean,  while the next one is sail in and countinue around a large island and then on into the next sound before returning to the ocean.

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