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Holiday Expedition to New Zealand & Australia
If you are tired of putting up holiday decorations and cooking for friends and family or if you feel like the best place to kick off the New Year is in a new, to you, destination, then the 14-day Holiday cruise from Christchurch, New Zealand to Hobart, Tasmania could be the perfect escape from your routine. Departing from Christchurch on December 22, 2020, the itinerary includes stops at some of New Zealand’s most stunning natural wonders before crossing the Tasman Sea to Sydney, where you’ll toast the New Year in Sydney, a city that celebrates the holiday with a typically Australian exuberance. You’ll then travel down Australia’s east coast to wild, rugged, and beautiful Tasmania.
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    Day 1
    You’ll board Crystal Endeavor in Christchurch. Often described as the most English of New Zealand’s cities. Founded in 1856 on the banks of the Avon River, Christchurch is the oldest established city in the country and is dotted with a number of late-19th century neo-Gothic buildings. The area offers more than tea and crumpets, however, and today Christchurch is also a gateway to many of the active adventures on the South Island. You can follow your finger sandwiches with some bungee jumping if you’d like.
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    Day 2
    Located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikoura has become a favorite destination of travelers who come for the opportunities to see the marine life in the region, most notably sperm whales that frequently gather here. The Maori name for the town translates roughly as “meal of crayfish,” and diving into a plate of crayfish continues to be a highlight of a day exploring Kaikoura. While the sperm whales are the biggest, literally, attractions among the wildlife found here, birders can expect to spot albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters, while seals and dolphins also swim alongside the whales.
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    Day 3
    Ship Cove/Queen Charlotte Sound
    As you round the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, you’ll sail through one of the country’s most beautiful fjords, Queen Charlotte Sound (or Totaranui, to use its Maori name). Dotted with islands, traveling along the sound can feel like sailing through a painting of a mythical landscape. At Ship Cove, you’ll find unspoiled beaches and sparkling azure waters. British explorer Captain James Cook gave the cove its name when he visited in 1770, an event commemorated by the Cook monument that sits on the shore. Seabirds, dolphins, and fur seals are among the possible wildlife sightings in the area.
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    Day 4
    Cruising the Coast of New Zealand
    As one of only 200 guests on Crystal Endeavor, you have an opportunity today as you sail south along New Zealand’s coast to explore one of the most anticipated new cruise ships in the world. The largest and most spacious expedition yacht ever constructed brings a contemporary elegance to the high seas. You may want to book a treatment at the serene Crystal Life Spa & Salon, work out at the state-of-the-art fitness center, or learn about the art, history and wildlife of the destinations you’ll visit with the engaging enrichment programs. Or you can simply lounge poolside or in the solarium while the attentive crew caters to your every whim. As evening arrives, order a cocktail in one of the luxurious lounges, indulge in the renowned culinary creations of Nobu Matsuhisa, or enjoy special wine-makers dinners.
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    Day 5
    Stewart Island
    You’ll arrive this morning at Stewart Island, off the southern tip of the South Island. This popular eco-tourism destination has golden beaches, sparkling bays, and lush forested hills. It all adds up to the perfect setting for nature hikes and wildlife sightings. Across from Stewart’s Golden Bay sits Ulva Island, an unspoiled haven for birds—and bird watchers—where colorful parakeets and parrots fly about the forest canopy. Kiwis, wekas (another flightless New Zealand bird species), saddlebacks and yellowheads also call this sanctuary home.
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    Day 6
    Dusky and Doubtful Sounds
    Today as you sail into Dusky Sound, you’ll be following in the path of Captain James Cook who spent several weeks exploring the sound on his second voyage to Australia. A number of islands sit in the sound, while waterfalls plunge from the cliffs alongside the sound into the water below. Dolphins, whales, seals, and many different seabirds can be spotted here.

    Later in the day you’ll continue on to Doubtful Sound, the second longest (at roughly 24 miles) of the fjords in the area. It’s been called the “Sound of Silence” with its serene atmosphere of peaks soaring above the water. Don’t let yourself get so overwhelmed by the grandeur of Doubtful Sound that you forget to look for the bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and Fiordland crested penguins that are common here.
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    Day 7
    Milford Sound
    Today you’ll arrive at what Rudyard Kipling famously described as “the eighth wonder of the world,” Milford Sound. Majestic peaks reaching toward the sky and white-plumed waterfalls cascading down forested cliffs into pristine waters making the sound the undisputed jewel of New Zealand’s World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park. Milford Sound’s spectacular beauty is complemented by an abundance of amazing wildlife, including dolphins, seals, and penguins.
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    Days 8 and 9
    Crossing the Tasman Sea
    As you cross the Tasman Sea bound for Sydney, you’ll enjoy the luxury of two days at sea aboard Crystal Endeavor. Take advantage of the ship’s many amenities whether that means simply enjoying the ocean views from bed in your suite or heading the gym and spa. When you are ready to eat, choose from four different dining options, including Italian at Prego and Japanese-Peruvian cuisine, under the direction of world-acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa, at Umi Uma & Sushi Bar. Or you may want to learn more about Australia at one of the enrichment lectures in the ship’s Palm Court.
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    Days 10 and 11
    You’ll arrive today in Sydney for an overnight stay and an unforgettable celebration. Few cities in the world have a setting that can compare to Sydney’s, built around its remarkable natural harbor. It is accented with two of Australia’s iconic landmarks, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Whether you want to dive into the city’s history and museums, its dining scene that reflects the influences of Sydney’s many immigrant communities, or spend a day at one of the famous beaches, you’ll experience the legendary warm Australian welcome wherever you go. Your visit to Sydney falls on New Year’s Eve, and you’ll be able to raise a glass and toast the upcoming year against a backdrop of fireworks illuminating the harbor.
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    Day 12
    The Australian town of Eden, on New South Wales’ Sapphire Coast, is not named after the biblical Eden, but George Eden, the first earl of Auckland. Still, it makes sense that some might be confused. This picturesque town is a gateway to a wonderland of stunning beaches, forested hills, lakes, nature trails, and national parks. The sparkling waters of Eden’s Twofold Bay are known as the Humpback Highway owing to the large number of whales that pass through on their migrations between Antarctica and the Coral Sea.
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    Day 13
    Flinders Island
    One of 52 islands in the Furneaux Group in the Bass Strait to the north of Tasmania, Flinders Island is a rugged and wild place of untamed grandeur. Trails traverse the island if you want to explore on foot or by bicycle, and wherever you go you’ll want to bring your camera to capture the dramatic beauty of the island’s granite cliffs and windswept beaches. Once you have built up an appetite, a number of restaurants specialize in farm-to-table cuisine paired with local wines.
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    Day 14
    Wineglass and Coles Bays and Maria Island
    Breathtaking Wineglass Bay sits on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula, in Freycinet National Park. A beautiful crescent of sand sits in the shadow of verdant green peaks. The park is a haven for hikers and kayakers, swimmers and snorkelers who can expect close encounters with the area’s varied wildlife, including wallabies, brown falcons, white-bellied sea eagles, and more.

    Continuing south along Tasmania’s east coast, Crystal Endeavor calls later in the day at Coles Bay, on the southern edge of Freycinet National Park. Pristine beaches and bird-filled lagoons beckon to both swimmers and hikers. Encounters with wombats and wallabies are among the highlights of a visit to the park, as are sightings of large yellow-tailed black cockatoos, white-bellied sea eagles, and other bird species.

    In the evening, you’ll sail to Maria Island, home to one of the country’s most intact convict settlements, which operated from 1825 to 1832. Given its past as a penal colony, Maria Island’s current role as a haven for endangered animals is perhaps surprising. The island earned the nickname Tasmania’s Noah’s Ark in the 1960s when it welcomed a number of imperiled Australian species. More than 125 bird species are found here, including emus, endangered swift parrots, and forty-spotted pardalotes. Its diverse wildlife also includes bare-nosed wombats, eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, ring-tailed possums, and even some Tasmanian devils that have been successfully reintroduced here.
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    Day 15
    Bruny Island
    Just off Tasmania’s east coast, Bruny Island is some 60 miles long with a coast indented with rocky coves and hidden inlets. The island, which consists of two land masses connected by a narrow sandy isthmus, is home to seals, little blue penguins, rare white wallabies, and a large colony of the endangered forty-spotted pardalote, one of Australia’s rarest birds. Embark on a nature tour with a guide and your odds of spotting some of the elusive creatures will be greater, though you can also head out on the island’s trails on your own if you prefer. History buffs will want to make sure to stop at Adventure Bay which figured prominently in the history of European exploration: Captain James Cook, Abel Tasman, and others dropped anchor in the bay on their journeys around Australia.
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    Day 16
    Your holiday adventure comes to end when you disembark today in Hobart. As far as Australian cities go, Hobart is one of the older ones, having been established in 1804. Its long history is evident as you walk its streets—there are 90 buildings included in the country’s National Trust registry while Battery Point is a reminder of Hobart's maritime heritage. With its location between Mt. Wellington and the Derwent River, few ports have a more beautiful setting. Before you begin your journey home, graze your way through the vendors who set up their stands at the lively farmers’ market on Salamanca Place