Tuesday 19 August 2008

Coral Princess Wraps Up a Quarter Century in New Zealand


Coral Princess Cruises will wrap up its 25th Anniversary year with a celebratory 12-night cruise of New Zealand’s east coast, hosted by company founders Vicki and Tony Briggs, who pioneered expedition-style cruising in Australia a quarter of a century ago.

The company’s luxury small ship, Oceanic Discoverer is a far cry from its first vessel – a converted submarine chaser – but the original ethos of experiencing great natural beauty, diverse cultures, dramatic coastlines and remote islands remains strong. The New Zealand Aotearoa cruise from Milford Sound to Auckland is designed to reveal facets of New Zealand even the locals don’t know about, in the spirit (but not the discomfort) of the first ship-based explorers.

Departing from World Heritage Milford Sound and travelling to Auckland, the cruise explores the remote reaches of Milford and Doubtful Sound – described as New Zealand’s most spectacular waterway - but also ventures into rarely-visited Dusky Sound. Stewart Island is renowned for its unusual bird life, including kiwis and penguins, and marks the southernmost point on the voyage. Heading north along the east coast, the ship stops at secluded Akaroa Harbour, where it’s possible to swim with dolphins, while Kaikoura is known as the best destination for whale watching.

The Tory Channel marks the entrance to the beautiful blue-green waters of Marlborough Sound, where Oceanic Discoverer’s guides interpret the history and natural attractions on guided walks. The trip also takes in Art Deco Napier, historic Gisborne, the active volcano on White Island and there’s time to explore the beaches and caves of the remote Mercury Islands, before ending the trip in Auckland.

The family-owned company is eco-accredited and owner, Tony Briggs has been instrumental in establishing environmental guidelines for tourism operators in Australia and the South Pacific.

“Looking back at our achievements over the past 25 years I am extremely proud that our company is now recognised as Australia’s longest established and most awarded cruise line,” said Captain Briggs. “This cruise is our opportunity to say thank you to all our loyal guests, many of whom have travelled with us numerous times over the last 25 years.”

The Oceanic Discoverer accommodates a maximum of just 72 guests, as well as a purpose-built excursion vessel, Xplorer, and a fleet of inflatable Zodiacs to allow passengers to intimately explore the secluded bays and inlets.

The 12-night New Zealand Aotearoa cruise departs from Queenstown on February 28, 2009 and costs from $7190 per person in a Main Deck B stateroom, including all meals, excursions and taxes. Guests will also be treated to a 25th anniversary cocktails and dinner celebration and will receive a copy of the Coral Princess Cruises 25th anniversary pictorial book.

For further information, call 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au.

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