Hawaii-NZ Cruise

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This trip to New Zealand in 2010 lasted a total of 46 days - my longest time traveling. My full itinerary is listed below in sections - feel free to click on what interests you, however if you click on the top-most item, there are links at the bottom of each page to take you to the next destination - from beginning to end. This is the best way to explore the whole trip.

If you just want to see photo albums, there are two collections available:
bullet Volendam Cruise 2010 - covers everything we encountered during the 30 day voyage while sailing aboard m/s Volendam between Vancouver, Canada and Auckland, New Zealand
bullet New Zealand 2010 - covers the 16 days we spent discovering the North Island of New Zealand after disembarking the ship
Volendam Cruise 2010

Cruise from Vancouver to Auckland aboard Volendam - 30 days - Sep 22 - Oct 22, 2010

bulletVancouver departure
bulletSeattle to Hawaii
bulletKaua'i, Oahu & Hawaii
bulletHawaii to Samoa
bulletAmerican Samoa
bulletFiji
bulletVanuatu & New Caledonia
bulletNew Caledonia to New Zealand

North Island, New Zealand - 16 days - Oct 22 - Nov 6, 2010

bulletKerikeri & North
bulletWarkworth
bulletWhangamata, Coromandel Penisula
bulletRotorua
bulletTe Kuiti & Waitomo
bulletAuckland-Victoria, Canada

Lamb

How it started

Actually, it all came together rather quickly. Some friends of mine saw an article in the travel section of the local paper describing this repositioning cruise for the Holland America Volendam, and told me about it. I looked at the itinerary, and liked all the ports of call in the South Pacific. I realized that if I wanted a choice of staterooms, I had to decide quickly about this trip, since it was almost sold out.  I ended up booking a mere four hours after hearing about the cruise!

The last time I took a cruise was 1981 - a trans Panama Canal cruise from Vancouver to San Juan, Puerto Rico with several ports of call in the Caribbean. Needless to say, the cruise ship industry has changed a great deal since then!

How it evolved

A few days after booking the cruise, I booked my return flight home on Qantas from Auckland to Victoria. I very much liked flying with Qantas last time I was returning from New Zealand in 2004. I took note that they offered a considerable improvement in in-flight service as compared with their competitors.

My friends who alerted me to this deal booked adjacent cabins on the same cruise a few days later. We made plans to tour New Zealand in a shared rental car, and agreed to confine ourselves to the North Island, so as to not run ourselves ragged. I had a cousin and a friend I wanted to visit with while on the North Island, so that added some purpose to the trip. My last trip to New Zealand in 2004 was too short, so having two weeks would allow me to see the major sights on the North Island.

Costs

I priced out the cruise, and factored in the single supplement; estimated the additional costs (on-board expenses, land expenses in New Zealand, and airfare home); and still found the trip was an incredible bargain costing only about half the normal per day costs for a cruise! I booked through the travelocity.ca online travel service, since I received Holland America's Flash Rate. This reduced the fare even further by several hundred dollars.

So was it worth it?

It was a fabulous trip.  Holland America is a cruise line which continues to provide the personal touches for its passengers, despite the major cutbacks in service being implemented across the cruise ship industry.  My friends and I feel we were spoiled while aboard the Volendam, and would be happy to book another cruise on a Holland America ship given our positive experiences on this ship.  The highlights of the trip for me have to be Fiji (both the police band in Suva and the snorkelling and beach on Dravuni Island), wonderful snorkelling near Port Vila in Vanuatu, and seeing the beautiful Ile des Pins in New Caledonia. It was also a real treat to be able to see New Zealand`s North Island at a slow enough pace to enjoy both the scenery and the friendly people.

Resources used for travel planning

 

 

 

 

 
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Last updated: June 08, 2014

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