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New Zealand cruise - April 2023


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I'm thinking of booking Radiance for an 11-night NZ cruise, departing Sydney on April 3, 2023.

I have two questions:

1. If anyone has sailed Radiance to NZ before, I'd appreciate any comments/insights.

2. Are Australia & New Zealand schools back in session in early April (meaning fewer children on board)?

Thanks.

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Can’t advise on your first point, however have some insight on the second. 

Not sure where you’re from, but for explanation purposes I’ll assume not from Aus? We have 3 lots of 2 week school holidays in Aus (in addition to the 6 week summer/Christmas holidays) one of which occurs over Easter. In my state it looks like the term 1 holidays begin on the 6th of April that year, however that is Victoria and RC departs from Brisbane and Sydney and not Melbourne. All of the states have different holiday timetables and therefore some might start before and some might start after that. As a teacher, and previous student in Australia, parents generally aren’t shy about taking their kids out of school for a holiday, particularly as it get closer to the end of term. So it’s likely that your cruise will fall on some states holidays, and that there will be kids on the cruise. How many? No idea. 

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New Zealand Schools should be in session April 3rd. Looking on the Ministry of Education website Term 1 2023 run from Mon 1st Feb until Friday April 16th. Term 2 is Monday 3rd May until 9th July.

I just looked at your itinerary and you are going to have a fantastic time (We actualyl do the same trip on Ovation in Jan 2023).

The sounds (Which ironically are actually technical Fiords) are truly spectacular. When every I have visitors and want to show them some 'wow' New Zealand I'll take them to Milford Sound and do the boat tour which goes out into the sound.

Your next port is Dunedin where we live. The ship docks about 30 minutes out of the city but there will be free bus tranportation from the cport to the city. The port (Port Chalmers) itself is worth a look around with some nice little cafes and old buildings etc (The first ever ship carrying frozen goods left Port Chalmers for England  in 1882). Dunedin has some amazing architect including the Railway Station and the University)/ Also home to the worlds sterpest street which was a killer running up for ruby training (On the way up you thought you'd die... on the way down you knew you'd die).  Also some amazing wildlife tours etc.

Christchurch  is called the garden city and truly deserves it title. This summer (if they sail) will be the first time cruise ships have visited Christchurch since the earth quakes in 2011 (The main port out of action for cruise ships until this year. Ships went to Akaroa which is about 45 minutes from Christchurch and itself a beautiful location

Wellington is the capital. Don't miss going to Te Pap our national museum. I'm not a museum fan but I promise this is one you want to go to. 

Make sure you are awake as the ship comes in through the sound to Picton. Fantastic port town which si the ferry link between the South Island and North (Picton to Wellington Ferry). Some amazing wineries are within easy reach of Picton and any trip around the sounds will be amazing! (I spent some of my summer holiday there this year and loved it).

Napier is an interesting city. Nearly totally leveled in 1031 by an earthquake the city was almost completely rebuilt in a Art Deco style which is kinda cool.

If there is anything you want to know in particular feel free to reach out. I hope you really enjoy your time in Aotearoa/New Zealand (Aotearoa is the Maori word for New Zealand)

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the topic and info. We are reserved for February 2023 on Radiance for 13 nights. Only 639 days and counting.

 

I would appreciate any input, comments, recommendations, experiences you may have had on similar trips.

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I'm thinking of booking something in the Nov/Dec 2023 time frame when it opens up.

Looking over past sailings, Celebrity appears to have more interesting itineraries (one way cruises between Auckland and Sydney giving me the option of spending time on both ends), but Ovation of the Seas sure looks like an interesting ship. Historically, the total cost of the cruises appears similar.

Since I'd be bringing my family from the US, this will be a once in a lifetime trip.  Any thoughts on which ship/line/itinerary makes the most sense?

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Did the 16. Night Radiance south end of Australia with NZ. Amazing cruise. NZ was cold in the sounds when we went (Nov) but beautiful. The Cadbury Chocolate tour is a must if they still offer it. If you are visiting the north Island go to the Shire if you are a LotR fan (kind of a pilgrimage ??)

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On 4/8/2021 at 6:53 AM, Craig 01020 said:

I'm thinking of booking Radiance for an 11-night NZ cruise, departing Sydney on April 3, 2023.

I have two questions:

1. If anyone has sailed Radiance to NZ before, I'd appreciate any comments/insights.

2. Are Australia & New Zealand schools back in session in early April (meaning fewer children on board)?

Thanks.

Early to mid-April is around school holidays time.

Whatever else you do, don't miss the sounds (fjords). Particularly Milford Sound. This will be a jaw-dropping highlight.

Having done land-based travel around NZ, my recommendation to anyone that has the means, would be to see more of the country pre or post-cruise. A cruise visit doesn't do the place justice. So maybe a Sydney to Auckland one-way cruise for those that can afford it.

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I've only been once in February and on Ovation, not Radiance. 

It was last year and it was on the ship crossing the Tasman Sea that I first heard of anything substantial related to COVID-19.  Oh to be back in those days...

You can read about my cruise here:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/17870-standing-ovation-from-the-land-down-under-new-zealand-11-nights-feb-2-2020/

I have sailed Radiance in Alaska and I've sailed Ovation in Alaska, Hawaii and New Zealand.  I've sailed other ships in both classes so I'm pretty comfortable on both classes of ship.

Both are fine ships but Ovation is much newer and has a lot more to do for families.  Radiance is a good ship but now much older and from a generation when the ship mattered but not as much as the destination.  I have booked Radiance in the future so I have no issues with her but it's pretty night and day different from Ovation.  

Ovations pool decks and solarium have much more glass and views to the sea and surroundings.  Radiance does have a Schooner Bar with a lot of glass and I often hear this cited but in reality who is going to sit in a bar to watch an amazing destination like New Zealand go by?  

Radiance can sometimes get into smaller destinations that struggle with bigger ships.  Consequently I'd look at both itineraries closely.  

For my tastes Quantum class have really refined the balcony cabin and the layout and bathroom are just about the best cabin of any in the fleet.  There are also a lot more balconies on Ovation so often balconies on her aren't subject to the same premium they are on smaller ships.  

I could make an argument for either ship so follow your gut and see what your travel party thinks.  

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