Friday 3 March 2023

PONANT and Relais & Châteaux offer two exclusive gastronomic New Zealand voyages in 2023

#expeditioncruising .

Renewing their collaboration for 2023, PONANT and Relais & Châteaux have designed two extraordinary expeditions to New Zealand, each hosted by renowned Relais & Châteaux chefs – Norka Mella Munoz and Jimmy McIntyre. These unique voyages will offer exclusive gastronomic experiences, highlighting the inimitable French lifestyle and excellence.

“We are thrilled to have renewed this partnership with PONANT, which this year will feature two exceptional Relais & Châteaux chefs on these newly tailored voyages,” said Relais & Châteaux President Laurent Gardinier.

Hervé Gastinel, CEO of PONANT, echoed this sentiment: “We are excited to share our expertise and passion by combining forces to bring guests authentic and meaningful experiences through these two out-of-the-ordinary voyages to the heart of New Zealand’s hidden treasures.”

Chef Norka Mella Munoz (left) is based at Wharekauhau Country Estate on New Zealand’s north island, and Jimmy McIntyre is at Otahuna Lodge on the South Island. Both chefs will share their passion and expertise in the galleys on Le Lapérouse, with two gala dinners taking place on each voyage. Guests will be treated to the chefs' signature dishes, which give pride of place to New Zealand cuisine. The culinary spectacle will not just be what is on the plate, as the chefs will emerge from behind the scenes for a culinary demonstration, creating a dish for guests.

Norka Mella Munoz is the Executive Chef at the Wharekauhau Country Estate and has won several culinary gold awards, having worked for hotels such as the Intercontinental, Las Torres del Paine, Explora Patagonia and San Pedro de Atacama. She has been a part of the Relais & Châteaux since December 2022, her cuisine is a fusion of her Chilean roots with that of her adopted country of New Zealand. 

Jimmy McIntyre (main pic) has been the Executive Chef at Otahuna Lodge since 2004. He is one of New Zealand’s longest-serving lodge chefs and is credited with developing one of the country’s most exceptional food and wine programmes. Having already been featured in Bon Appetit, Condé Nast Traveler the Financial Times and Time magazine, Jimmy is behind the famous “garden to plate” philosophy of this Relais & Châteaux member property.

Focus on the itineraries

New Zealand’s South Island and Chatham Islands

With Chef Norka Mella Munoz from Relais & Châteaux Wharekauhau Country Estate on board, this expedition unveils all the magic and beauty of Aotearoa’s landscapes. Departing from New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, Le Lapérouse will set sail to explore the South Island’s east coast renowned for being one of the most unspoiled environments on the planet. The first port of call is the Marlborough Sounds, a vast network of submerged valleys forming a maze of peninsulas and hilly islands before sailing to the rocky Kaikoura peninsula, known for its wealth of biodiversity. The expedition then heads out to the Chatham Islands for more breath-taking scenery and intriguing insights into Māori heritage before Akaroa and finally Dunedin. Between stunning panoramas and the wildlife, this voyage is also a rare opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in Māori history and culture.

From Wellington to Dunedin, 8 nights onboard Le Laperouse

From 25 November 2023 to 3 December 2023

From AUD 8,830 per person plus 25% Ponant Bonus* (conditions apply)

Find more about this voyage.

Before the cruise - exclusive stay at the Wharekauhau Country Estate

As an optional add on, guests can elect to book a four-day, three-night program at the Wharekauhau Country Estate prior to embarkation. Between visits of the Martinborough vineyards and the discovery of the region’s traditions, the stay offers a complete immersion in the Kiwi culture and gastronomy, with all meals included at the Relais & Châteaux estate.

Discover this exclusive stay at the Relais & Châteaux Wharekauhau Country Estate

Ancient fjords and Unspoiled Islands of Southern New Zealand

Along the shores of New Zealand’s South Island, Le Lapérouse will be sailing amidst spectacular scenery in the presence of Chef Jimmy McIntyre from Relais & Châteaux Otahuna Lodge. From Dunedin, the polar expedition reveals all the wonders of the magnificent Fjordland National Park, an integral part of Te Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site of fjords shaped by over 100,000 years of glaciations. The ship then heads for the Snares Islands, one of New Zealand’s subantarctic archipelagos, before reaching Ulva Island, a predator-free sanctuary that provides a refuge for numerous species of birds and rare plants.

From Dunedin to Dunedin, 7 nights onboard Le Laperouse

From 3 December 2023 to 10 December 2023

From AUD 8,690 per person plus 15% Ponant Bonus* (conditions apply)

Find more about this voyage


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