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In 2016, Azamara Club Cruises made its maiden voyage into New Zealand, a country whose inviting culture is as vibrant as its lush green landscape. In keeping with Azamara’s commitment to Destination Immersion, meaning longer stays, more overnights, and night touringSM, a voyage to New Zealand provides plenty of opportunities to travel off the beaten path for an exclusive and at times behind-the-scenes look into the incredible cuisine, people, and passions of Kiwi country.
Port Profile – The City of Sails
Of the many amazing destinations you’ll discover on a voyage to New Zealand, Auckland rises to the top of the list. The only city in the world built on an active basaltic volcanic field, Auckland, located on the North Island of New Zealand, is one of the country’s hottest destinations (pun very much intended). With a warm, costal climate, Auckland truly features something for every interest and personality.
Central Auckland is home to a thriving restaurant scene and shopping paradise. Queen Street is the hub of the city, and offers a lively nightlife district with a host of local theaters and live entertainment to choose from. During the day, head over to Ponsonby, one of Central Auckland’s hippest parts of town, which features streets lined with boutique shops and chic local cafés.
North and West Auckland capture the magnificent beauty of the country, with postcard-worthy beaches, boutique vineyards, rainforests, and 800 year-old trees in Parry Kauri Park.
And then there is South Auckland, where you can walk among 10,000 different species of plants in one go at the Auckland Botanic Gardens or climb to the top of Awhitu Peninsula’s historic lighthouse for a photo opportunity that will be the talk of Instagram.
There is truly something for everyone in this little known yet remarkable coastal city. Several Azamara voyages begin or conclude in Auckland’s port, allowing time for an additional night stay or three – a decision you will be very glad you made.
Food. Another reason we cruise.
Auckland is a foodie’s dream, with thousands of restaurants, cafes, and bars serving a mix of local fare and international dishes. Traditional New Zealand cuisine consists of lamb, pork, venison, salmon, and other seafood dishes. For a truly authentic culinary experience, be sure to try Maori Hangi, a cooking style where meals are prepared in a deep hole that is lined with red hot stones and burning wood and covered in vegetation. Inside, meats, seafood, and vegetables steam for several hours, giving a distinct smoky flavor that melts in your mouth with every bite. Take note of how the pit is prepared, as different types of wood each add their own distinct flavor the meal.
You’ll need something to drink to go with all of that food, and if wine is what you’re after, you will have plenty to choose from. New Zealand is famous for its wine, many of which come from the vineyards of Auckland. Waiheke Island, a 35-minute scenic ferry ride from downtown Auckland is home to many of the city’s signature wineries. Stroll through the deep green vineyards with the sea breeze in your hair, then cozy up for a taste of world-class Chardonnay, intense red Bordeaux-blends, and sophisticated Syrah.
Food is a big reason to cruise with Azamara and New Zealand is a great example why.
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Destination Immersion in Auckland
Adventure is no stranger to Auckland. After you’ve had your fill of food, drink, and beach time, there is still plenty more to explore in this stylish city. With Destination Immersion, many Azamara voyages include options to get out, get active, or get your adrenaline pumping with local activities for the adventure seekers onboard.
Auckland is no different. When on Waiheke Island, try the new EcoZip, a dual zip line towering above wine country. This one is best enjoyed before sipping too much wine.
In downtown Auckland, test your bravery while walking along the top of the famous Sky Tower. You’ll be harnessed in, suspended 192 meters above sea level, with views spanning for miles. Make sure to have a friend take your picture or it didn’t happen.
If heights aren’t your cup of tea, take to the road or trails on two wheels. Auckland’s stunning scenery is best experienced when you’re right in the middle of it, and a mountain biking trip is a great way to cover a lot of ground. Or forgo the bike for a walk or climb instead. Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges are visited by locals and tourists alike, for a day of hiking and canyoning amidst flowing waterfalls and deep gorges. And if you still have energy, a horseback ride along the beach at sunset is the perfect close to an adventurous day.
Destination Immersion means getting out of your comfort zone a bit and diving into authentic cultural experiences. And in Auckland, your choices are many.
Auckland Land Discoveries Shore Excursions
While on shore, Azamara’s destination experts would be happy to guide the way with unique tours and events exclusively for Azamara guests. Whether you’re a history fanatic, fitness enthusiast, or foodie, Azamara’s shore excursions feature a wide range of culturally inspired activities for a variety of interests.
The editors at Cruise Critic, the market leader in cruise reviews and information, awarded Azamara for Best Shore Excursions in 2015. And Auckland is quite the place to experience the best, with shore excursions that share the ins and outs of this city with guests in unique ways.
Auckland is just one of the numerous highlights you’ll encounter on a voyage to New Zealand. And Azamara offers many opportunities to get you there in 2017 and 2018. Whether you have a thirst for adventure or a glass of wine, you’ll find what you’re looking for on the voyage for those who love travel. Travel that inspires. Travel that moves you. And travel that brings your club-like boutique hotel with you every step of the way.
To start planning your voyage to New Zealand, visit AzamaraClubCruises.com.