Luxury journey through Fjordland and the wild, subantarctic islands

Spend Christmas day exploring New Zealand’s spectacular Fjordland and New Year’s day journeying amongst the wild and remote subantarctic islands. That’s the promise of a new luxury expedition cruise package curated by Cruise Traveller with Ponant, which is also offering savings of A$8,810 per couple and A$16,620 for solos – as well as a free hotel stay,  for bookings made by 31 August 2023.

Described as the ‘Galapagos of the Southern Ocean’, the remote outposts of Macquarie Island, Campbell Island, The Snares, Antipodes Islands and the Auckland Islands – all outlying territories of New Zealand and Australia – are among the world’s best preserved and protected environments, with natural features and wildlife seen nowhere else on Earth.

More than 1.5 million penguins, 3.5 million seabirds and 80,000 elephant seals can be found on these lonely subantarctic islands half-way between Australia/New Zealand and Antarctica.

The most southern of the islands is Australia’s rugged Macquarie Island. The World Heritage-listed island is home to scores of seabirds, huge elephant seals and penguins of several varieties as well as an Australian base staffed by 30 scientists. Because of its southerly latitude, Macquarie Island is blessed with more than 17 hours of daylight every January with early sunrises and late sunsets, allowing privileged visitors plenty of time to explore the wild outpost. January 2024, is when guests can experience this new subantarctic package and visit these isolated islands.

Cruise Traveller has special offers on two round-trip, all-inclusive sailings from Dunedin, New Zealand, to the subantarctic islands in December 2023, or January 2024, aboard Ponant’s luxury exploration ship, Le Soleal.

The two, identical, 16-night packages begin with two complimentary nights in a deluxe Dunedin hotel before guests board Ponant’s luxury expedition ship, the 264-guest Le Soleal, for a return voyage to Fjordland and the subantarctic islands south of NZ. Le Soleal boasts private balconies in all staterooms as well as a fine dining restaurant and grill restaurant, panoramic lounge, theatre, library, open-air bar, pool, an expert expedition team and personalised service.

The spectacular 14-night voyage takes in the famous fjords of NZ’s South Island, little-known Ulva Island and the remote subantarctic territories of Macquarie Island, Campbell Island, The Snares, Antipodes Islands and the Auckland Islands – all rich wildlife sanctuaries which guest can enjoy on Zodiac adventure.

Two departure dates are available – 21 December 2023, with a festivities-filled Christmas Day spent amongst the majestic splendour of NZ’s Fjordland and New Year’s Eve spent off Macquarie Island, and also 4 January 2024.

Snapshot of inclusions and features – ‘More than Sounds and Mountains’ package:

  • 16-night package from either 21 December 21, 2023, or 4 January 2024
  • Free, two-night stay in Dunedin
  • 14-night, round-trip cruise from Dunedin aboard Le Soleal  including onboard beverages and Zodiac excursions

The cruise and stay package is available from A$16,860 per person, twin-share (21 Dec departure), in a Deluxe Balcony stateroom – a saving of $4,405 each.  Solo travellers can enjoy a hugely reduced single supplement, with the package available from A$24,770 – a big saving of A$16,620.  The discounts apply to bookings made by 31 August 2023. Early bookings are recommended, with limited space available at these fares.

Call Australian small ship specialist, Cruise Traveller, on 1800 507 777 or visit

SOURCE: Cruise Traveller  /  IMAGE: credit Ponant – Mick Fogg


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