Frequently Asked Questions

Where will I go on a New Zealand cruise?

This depends on your itinerary. New Zealand cruises typically depart from Auckland, although it’s not uncommon for these cruises to depart from Australian cities like Sydney or Brisbane, or even from ports along the West Coast of the United States. Ports visited will include a variety of cities throughout New Zealand, such as Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin, as well as the scenic destinations of Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound. Some New Zealand cruises will also visit popular Australian cities.

How long does it take to get there?

New Zealand is just over 12 hours flying time from Los Angeles, 8.5 hours from Honolulu and only 3 hours from Australia. Your flight will most likely be an overnight flight From North America, you will cross the International Date Line, causing you to lose a day in transit. Due to the added travel time, you will be required to leave your hometown for your port of departure at least two days in advance of your New Zealand cruise. However, we suggest that you leave three or four days before your cruise to allow time to rest and get oriented before boarding the ship. Most cruise lines offer pre-cruise hotel packages.

When is the best time to take a New Zealand cruise?

New Zealand cruises are offered year-round, although this region’s peak cruise season begins in October and runs through March. Located in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand’s seasons are opposite of those in the northern hemisphere, so if it’s winter in the U.S., it’s summer in New Zealand.

Will I need a passport or visa?

Passports are required for all international visitors.

Is English spoken?

English is one of New Zealand’s official languages and is widely spoken by New Zealanders.

What is the time difference?

New Zealand is on New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is 20 hours ahead of Los Angeles.

What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?

The official currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZD). Currency exchange stations are available at most local hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards.

Is tipping a common practice?

Tipping is not expected in New Zealand. If you receive extraordinary service and want to leave a little extra tip for your waitstaff, 5% to 10% is adequate. Taxi drivers are rarely tipped.

What should I wear?

Casual resort wear, including shorts and T-shirts, is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sandals for beach excursions, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals.

What should I pack?

New Zealand’s weather is very unpredictable, and you’ll experience cooler temperatures the further south you travel. Summer (December – February) is generally the warmest month, but weather can still be windy or rainy during the summer months. Think about the kinds of activities you will want to try – horseback riding on the beach in Auckland or sightseeing in Christchurch -- and pack accordingly. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuits if traveling during New Zealand’s warmer season; protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers are advisable no matter when you travel. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.

Is the water safe to drink?

Water is suitable to drink everywhere, although bottled water is available.

What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?

Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.

What types of electrical outlets are used?

U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters; these same devices come in handy for U.S. citizens who plan to overnight in hotels at some point during their vacation, as much of New Zealand uses the 240-volt outlet.

How do I make a telephone call from New Zealand?

Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.

Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?

Yes, it is rare not to find air-conditioned accommodations in New Zealand.

What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy? Can I haggle over prices?

Shopping areas in New Zealand include arts and crafts markets, galleries, museum shops and designer stores. If you’re interested in traditional souvenirs, look for Maori carvings in wood, greenstone or jade, or abalone jewelry and ornaments. Wool items are also popular as is local artwork. Give haggling a try if you feel comfortable, but most prices are not negotiable.

How do I get around?

New Zealand is a tourism hot spot with plenty to see and do. While visiting the country’s larger cities, you will have no problem utilizing public transportation (trains, buses, ferries, railways and trams) to get around, as well as taxi services. Smaller cities sometimes offer bicycle or scooter rentals, and most cities and towns are pedestrian-friendly. Shore excursions purchased through your cruise line highlight top attractions and include transportation and guide.

Can I rent a car?

Rental cars are widely available throughout New Zealand, although the minimum rental age varies from 21 to 25 years of age. A driver’s license that you’ve held for at least one year is required to drive in New Zealand, and speed limits are strictly enforced. Keep in mind that public transportation (buses, trains and ferries) is widely accessible and most towns and cities are pedestrian-friendly, making car rentals largely unnecessary in this region unless traveling beyond city limits.

What can I do there?

New Zealand is a relatively small country but one that offers all sorts of one-of-a-kind experiences and unique sightseeing opportunities for travelers. From cultural tours and wine tastings to outdoor activities, like hiking and swimming, and outrageous adventure sports, such as bungee jumping and skydiving, the list of activities is endless. Learn more about the Polynesian and Maori culture in Rotorua, wander the beautiful gardens in Christchurch or skydive in Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world. The more laid-back traveler may prefer exploring the metropolitan wonders of Auckland, enjoying the sun and surf in Tauranga or touring New Zealand’s renowned wineries.

Do you have any photography tips for travelers to New Zealand?

There's plenty of natural beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. 

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