World Cruise Stops Continue in New Zealand …

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ONBOARD Crystal Serenity –

Day 40 Monday February 23, 2015            Tauranga, New Zealand

Sprawling along the sweeping bay, Tauranga is a popular summer resort and one of the country’s most important ports for the export of kiwi fruit, timber, and dairy products. It is also the gateway for Rotorua, the geothermal wonderland that is one of New Zealand’s most famous attractions.

Day 41 Tuesday February 24, 2015            Napier, New Zealand

Northeast of the capital city of Wellington is Napier, a town with much to boast about. Napier is known for producing wool, growing fruit, cultivating grapes and making wine. The natural setting that helps in its agricultural pursuits also makes Napier popular among retirees and tourists; after all, who can resist picturesque countryside with an air of sophistication-and not a whiff of pretension? Add to its bucolic charms a rich Maori history and tales of explorer Captain Cook and you have a destination worthy of discovery.

Day 42 Wednesday February 25, 2015    Wellington, New Zealand

Hugging the hillsides around Port Nicholson, a horseshoe-shaped bay that is one of the world’s finest, Wellington reminds many visitors of San Francisco. In cultural offerings as well as landscape – Wellington boasts the National Art Gallery and the Dominion Museum, as well as the Government Building, one of the world’s largest wooden structures.

Day 43 Thursday February 26, 2015          Christchurch/Akaroa, New Zealand

On a breathtakingly scenic 90-minute drive from Christchurch, discover the charming village of Akaroa, the oldest colonial town in New Zealand’s South Island, and the country’s only French settlement. The Maori first settled here around 700-800 years ago, bestowing the name Akaroa, which means ‘long harbour’ in their native language. English explorers, including James Cook, arrived in the late 1700s, but it was the efforts of French whaling captain Jean Francois L’Anglois in the 1830s that led to the town’s distinctly French personality that still exists today.  Nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano along the southern side of the Banks Peninsula, Akaroa’s beautiful bays and harbour are home to the rarest and smallest marine dolphin—the Hectors dolphin—as well as New Zealand Fur Seals, Little Blue Penguins, and many different birds and exotic plants. From kayaking, hiking, fishing, sailing, eco-tours and walking tours to art galleries, craft shops, and cafes, this welcoming town is remains a favorite among New Zealand destinations.

Day 44 Friday February 27, 2015                Dunedin, New Zealand

The charming city of Dunedin lies in southeastern New Zealand, less than ten miles from our pier in Port Chalmers. Its name means Edinburgh in Gaelic and to this day it has retained enduring reminders of its Scottish roots. Adorning the streets of Dunedin is a wealth of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, richly festooned with spires, gables and gargoyles. These architectural landmarks are imposing reminders of a more prosperous era. Surprisingly, the surrounding area is also home to prolific local wildlife, animals rarely found so close to a major city. The choice is yours: explore impressive city architecture, take a rail journey through unspoiled wilderness or venture out to view albatrosses and a country estate.

Day 45 Saturday February 28, 2015 Cruising Dusky and Doubtful, and Milford Sounds, New Zealand

Milford Sound is the undisputed jewel of Fiordland National Park. Thousands of years ago, relentless glacial ice forged its rugged grandeur. Sheer-faced granite walls soar skyward, white-plumed waterfalls tumble from lush valleys into glassy waters and Mitre Peak rears over 5,000 feet into the mist.

Due to its outstanding natural beauty and cultural significance, Milford Sound has been nominated a World Heritage Area. No guests are permitted ashore. However, the true grandeur of Milford Sound is best enjoyed from the water and in the comfort of the Crystal Serenity.

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