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Sydney, capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities, is best known for its harbourfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby.
Located at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton is your gateway to the South Island’s famed Marlborough District. Once known primarily for its lush farm lands and many sheep stations, Marlborough came to international attention thanks to a new agricultural product – wine. The release of the 1985 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand on the map and changed the world’s focus on winemaking in the Southern Hemisphere. Today, the Marlborough region boasts dramatic sea and landscapes, fascinating wine country, excellent restaurants and a number of the nation’s finest gardens.
Military names abound in this corner of New Zealand – the region is named for the first Duke of Marlborough, while the largest town, Blenheim, is named after his most famous battle. Picton is named for Sir Thomas Picton, a favorite of another general, the first duke of Wellington.
Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, sits near the North Island’s southernmost point on the Cook Strait. A compact city, it encompasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. From Lambton Quay, the iconic red Wellington Cable Car heads to the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
Napier and Hawke’s Bay have become New Zealand’s premier lifestyle getaways. Located on the North Island’s eastern coast, New Zealand’s oldest wine-growing region boasts a superb Mediterranean climate and golden sand beaches. In recent years, Hawke’s Bay has become a leading producer of fine olive oils and artisanal cheeses. Wildlife lovers and birders will flock to Cape Kidnappers in Southern Hawke Bay: the Cape is home to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world.
In 1931, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake leveled Napier. The town rebuilt itself, and today Napier is hailed as the “Art Deco City” for its superb collection of Deco, Spanish Mission and Classical Revival buildings.
New Zealand’s natural bounty is always on display at the Bay of Plenty. It was Captain James Cook who in 1769 aptly named this bay after he was able to replenish his ship’s provisions, thanks to the prosperous Maori villages of the region. Tauranga, the chief city, is a bustling port, an agricultural and timber center and a popular seaside resort. Tauranga is also the gateway to Rotorua – a geothermal wonderland that is the heart of Maori culture. A 90-minute drive from Tauranga, Rotorua is New Zealand’s primary tourist attraction.
Your ship docks near the foot of Mt. Maunganui, which rises 761 feet above the bay. Across the harbor, Tauranga offers scenic tidal beaches at Omokoroa and Pahoia. The region boasts fine beaches, big-game fishing, thermal springs and seaside resorts.
Straddling a narrow isthmus created by 60 different volcanoes, New Zealand’s former capital boasts scenic beauty, historical interest and a cosmopolitan collection of shops, restaurants, museums, galleries and gardens. Rangitoto, Auckland’s largest and youngest volcano, sits in majestic splendor just offshore. Mt. Eden and One Tree Hill, once home to Maori earthworks, overlook the city. One of New Zealand’s fine wine districts lies to the north of Auckland.
Auckland served as New Zealand’s capital from 1841 until 1865, when the seat of government moved to Wellington.
The Bay of Islands offers more than broad vistas of sea and sky, more than beaches, boating, and fabulous water sports. The Bay is the birthplace of modern New Zealand. Here the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, establishing British rule and granting the native inhabitants equal status. Rich in legend and mystery, the Bay of Islands has age-old ties to the Maori and to whalers, missionaries and New Zealand’s early settlers.
The Bay of Islands has lured explorers for countless centuries. The Maori say that Kupe, the great Polynesian adventurer, came here in the 10th century. Captain Cook anchored offshore in 1769, followed by assorted brigands, traders, colonists and missionaries.
Note: Bay of Islands is an anchorage port. Passengers transfer to shore via ship’s tender.
The International Date Line is an imaginary line extending from the North Pole to the South Pole through the Pacific Ocean. It serves as the 180th meridian of longitude, and is used to designate the beginning of each calendar day.
As you know, each adjacent time zone on the map has an hour time difference. However, at the International Date Line, +12 hours and -12 hours meet, bringing about a 24-hour time change. So while a person standing just to the west of the line may be celebrating Christmas Eve at 6 pm, someone just to the east will already be sitting down to Christmas dinner on December 25th.
Therefore, when your ship crosses this line heading west, a day is added, and while crossing in an easterly direction, a day is subtracted.
Crossing the International Date Line has long been a rite of passage for sailors, who often must participate in a line-crossing ceremony to become part of the sacred “Order of the Golden Dragon”, an honorary naval fraternity.
Pago Pago Bay is one of the most dramatic harbors in the South Pacific, a region known for dramatic landscapes. Eons ago, the massive seaward wall of a volcano collapsed and the sea poured in. Today, dramatic mountain peaks encircle the deep harbor.
The capital of American Samoa, Pago Pago is more village than city. The town is dominated by looming Mt. Pioa, whose summit draws moisture-bearing clouds, earning it the nickname of “The Rainmaker.” Indeed, Pago Pago draws more than its fair share of rain – the island of Tutuila is a vision of deep, verdant green.
Pronounced “Pango Pango,” this island paradise awaits exploration.
Majestic mountains sculpted by ancient volcanoes, a shimmering lagoon and a barrier reef dotted with tiny motu, or islets – welcome to Bora Bora, perhaps the most stunning island in the South Pacific. Only 4,600 people live a seemingly idyllic lifestyle in the main villages of Vaitape, Anau and Faanui. No wonder those generations of travelers – including novelist James Michener – regarded Bora Bora as an earthly paradise.
Connected to its sister islands by water and by air – the landing strip sits atop Motu Mute, one of the reef’s islets – Bora Bora remains relatively unspoiled by the modern world.
Papeete, on Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia, a group of islands in the South Pacific. Beside the port, busy Place Vai’ete fills with roulottes, or food carts, in the evenings. Nearby, the large Marché de Papeete market sells local produce, fish and handicrafts. The Robert Wan Pearl Museum focuses on the local pearl industry and sells jewelry.
Home to nearly half a million people, Honolulu is Hawaii’s state capital and only major city. The city of Honolulu and the island of Oahu offer a wealth of historic, cultural and scenic attractions. Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head are two of the city’s enduring symbols. Pearl Harbor, site of the USS Arizona Memorial and the “Punchbowl,” are haunting reminders of the tragic events of December 7, 1941, when the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor forced America into World War II. Honolulu is also home to the historic Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s last royals. Beyond the city lie tropical rain forests, the Pali Lookout and the North Shore known for its surfing beaches.
Lahaina is the largest census-designated place in West Maui, Maui County, Hawaii, United States and includes the Kaanapali and Kapalua beach resorts. As of the 2010 census, the CDP had a resident population of 11,704.
Cable cars, the Golden Gate rising from the fog – welcome to San Francisco, arguably the most romantic and cosmopolitan city in the United States. San Francisco has it all: a colorful history, superb restaurants, sophisticated museums, world-class shopping, and that elusive air of romance and abandon that’s part of the tang of the city.
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