Escape to this unhurried corner of the world, where Māori legends, steaming volcanic lakes, penguins and hobbits add to the magical landscape. From the historic North Island, known as "the birthplace of the nation," to the stirring drama of Fiordland National Park / Piopiotahi , a cruise to New Zealand / Aotearoa with Princess will defy expectations.
Across the Ditch cruise activities
Enjoy enriching experiences onboard and ashore
Princess Cruises proudly presents Across the Ditch, an immersive program designed to bring guests the very best of New Zealand / Aotearoa. Our program brings authentic Maori experiences, culture and local flavors onboard and ashore to showcase what makes New Zealand so unique. With more New Zealand wines, beers, entertainment, enrichment (including the Matariki Festival) and more Shore Excursions than ever before, you’ll have the chance to enjoy even more of this fascinating country as you journey Across the Ditch on a New Zealand cruise.
"Across the Ditch" is an affectionate term for crossing the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand and vice versa - known colloquially as "the Ditch".
Excursions — your gateway to New Zealand's best attractions
On a cruise to and from Auckland, delight at the sight of glittering glowworms inside Auckland’s / Tāmaki Makaurau Waitomo Grotto, and enjoy an exclusive kiij at Māori and Polynesian exhibits in Auckland. Travel along Akaroa’s Southern Alps, and see white-flippered blue penguins and New Zealand / Aotearoa fur seals on a cruise through Akaroa Harbour. On itineraries with More Ashore Late Night calls, we stay until at least 9 p.m. in port so you can experience some of the fabulous nightlife.
And with a range of Discovery Recommended and Exclusive excursions available only with Princess Cruises, you’ll see New Zealand in a whole new way.
Let Your New Zealand / Aotearoa Cruise Journey Begin
Lifestyle & culture
Savor the unique tastes of an authentic Māori hangi or sample award-winning wines from Picton. See how the Māori’s rich heritage comes alive in the Bay of Islands / Pēwhairangi, and discover how Napier’s / Ahuriri beautifully preserved 1930s architecture pays homage to the Māori by merging the linear symmetry of Art Deco with tribal motifs.
Photo: Traditional Māori welcome
Natural wonders & landscapes
Witness the unparalleled beauty of what locals call “Godzone” (God’s own country) on a hike into Tauranga’s / Tauranga Moana Wai-O-Tapu thermal valley and be rewarded with spectacular mud pools, geysers and rainbow-colored lakes. And just outside Wellington, you’ll experience a world teeming with Māori myths, rugged coasts and adorable seals.
Be awestruck by the beauty of Fiordland National Park / Piopiotahi, named one of the 7 Cruise Wonders of the World by Condé Nast Traveler. And sail through the glassy waters and towering cliffs of Milford Sound, which was formed a millennia ago by massive glacial flows.
Photo: The volcanoes in the Wai-o-Tapu Valley
Unique experiences on New Zealand / Aotearoa cruises
New Zealand’s vast, dramatic and diverse landscape is the unrivaled home of Tolkien’s mythical Middle Earth. Journey to the city of Edoras and walk in the footsteps of The Lord of the Rings in Wellington, and visit Peter Jackson’s Weta Studios.
Marvel at the sight of twinkling glowworms in Auckland’s Glowworm Grotto, and explore Wellington’s Zealandia, nicknamed "Jurassic Park," in search of the giant weta – one of the world’s largest insects!
Photo: The Lord of the Rings movie sets in Hobbittown
Onboard enrichment on New Zealand / Aotearoa cruises
At Princess® we want you to enjoy an unforgettable New Zealand adventure. That’s why we’ve created a unique onboard program ‘Across the Ditch’ - with special regional experiences, including:
- See traditional folkloric performances, and learn the art yourself such as the Haka Māori War Dance or Poi Dancing.
- Enjoy kiwi favorites served on board New Zealand cruises, including Pavlova, or Lamb, or even a Hangi Dinner – a Māori tradition. Pair this with a glass of world famous wine from the Marlborough Region.
- Learn more about New Zealand’s rich history with a pop-up display from Auckland War Museum in the Atrium.
- Participate in “Festivals of the World” celebrations, such as Matariki, a Māori festival that marks the start of the Māori New Year, with ceremonial offerings and homage to whakapapa (ancestors). Celebrate with kiwi music, dance, crafts & even traditional face painting.
Photo: A traditional Māori Matariki Festival on board
Landmarks & Cultural Masterpieces
Don’t miss the famed Christchurch Botanic Gardens, which boasts the finest collection of exotic and indigenous plants in New Zealand, Port Chalmers’ Larnach Castle (the country’s only castle) or cruise to Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau and see the Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in the southern hemisphere.
Photo: Larnach Castle in Dunedin
Art, museums & historic treasures
Wellington’s number-one attraction, the Te Papa National Museum, showcases Māori and Pacific cultural treasures, New Zealand’s extraordinary natural life and its most important works of art.
Photo: The famous TranzAlpine Express in the Southern Alps
UNESCO world heritage sites
Sail into a world of surreal beauty in Fiordland National Park / Piopiotahi, where the verdant flanks of snowcapped peaks plunge into the crystalline waters of ice-carved fiords. Or visit the Tongariro National Park outside of Napier / Ahuriri, which holds the title of first park in the world to receive UNESCO World Heritage status for both its natural and Māori spiritual and cultural value.
Photo: Fiordland National Park
Before or after you set sail for the wonders of New Zealand, why not also discover some of Australia’s greatest attractions. Sailing from Sydney or Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau, you can pair your cruise with a land tour to the Australian Outback to famed Uluru (Ayers Rock) and visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Photo: Australia’s magical Great Barrier Reef
Australia & New Zealand Cruise Articles
Read about exotic isles, legendary destinations, and prepare to explore a region unlike any other on your Australia and New Zealand cruise.