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question on Milford Sound - Queenstown


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We are booked on the Jan 25, 2021 Celebrity Solstice (Auckland to Sydney)    We dock at Dunedin on 1/30 then visit Dusky, Doubtful and MIlford Sound on 1/31, the 3 fjords are scheduled at different times on the afternoon of the 31st.    However also on the 31st there is an overnight excursion offered that visits Queenstown.  No times are given for the excursion.  I am wondering if we still get to see the fjords if we sign up for the overnight excursion.  Also, the excursion description says " Day 1:  Milford Sound to Queenstown,  Day 2:  Queenstown to Dunedin"  The description says you re-board the ship in Dunedin.    I am guessing that maybe this description is wrong and written for the Sydney to Auckland route rather than the opposite.   Does anyone have experience with this overnight excursion.  It seems like fun, but don't want to miss the fjords either.   thank you.

 

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I had booked a Celebrity itinerary like this one [before DW decided it's just too far to fly to Australia, so we are doing a NZ-only cruise instead] and we were going to take this overland excursion.  In your direction you would leave the ship in Dunedin and go by bus to Queenstown for the night.  The next day the bus would take you to Milford Sound where you would reboard the ship.  You would thus miss Dusky and Doubtful Sounds entirely, and also half of the Milford Sound scenic viewing [the part coming into the Sound before they pick you up].  You would get the outbound part of Milford Sound.

 

However, I was cautioned on this board at the time that weather often causes the ships to cancel the Milford Sound sailing.  Our itinerary was coming from Australia, so we would just stay onboard and sail around the southern end of the South Island to Dunedin – no one explained what would happen if they began the excursion from Dunedin and then the ship couldn't get in to pick you up???  Hopefully others can answer that question...

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6 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

I had booked a Celebrity itinerary like this one [before DW decided it's just too far to fly to Australia, so we are doing a NZ-only cruise instead] and we were going to take this overland excursion.  In your direction you would leave the ship in Dunedin and go by bus to Queenstown for the night.  The next day the bus would take you to Milford Sound where you would reboard the ship.  You would thus miss Dusky and Doubtful Sounds entirely, and also half of the Milford Sound scenic viewing [the part coming into the Sound before they pick you up].  You would get the outbound part of Milford Sound.

 

However, I was cautioned on this board at the time that weather often causes the ships to cancel the Milford Sound sailing.  Our itinerary was coming from Australia, so we would just stay onboard and sail around the southern end of the South Island to Dunedin – no one explained what would happen if they began the excursion from Dunedin and then the ship couldn't get in to pick you up???  Hopefully others can answer that question...

thank you for the reply..   That is a situation I didn't think about.  After Milford, the ship heads to Australia, so it seems if the overland excursion people from Queenstown can't board in Milford, then they would be flying to Australia?  That doesn't sound like a good option.  I will call Celebrity but sometimes it is hard to get answers to detailed questions like these.   I am also assuming the inland trip and Queenstown is appealing and offers its own beauty and thus worth considering.

 

 

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5 hours ago, CCJack said:

thank you for the reply..   That is a situation I didn't think about.  After Milford, the ship heads to Australia, so it seems if the overland excursion people from Queenstown can't board in Milford, then they would be flying to Australia?  That doesn't sound like a good option.  I will call Celebrity but sometimes it is hard to get answers to detailed questions like these.   I am also assuming the inland trip and Queenstown is appealing and offers its own beauty and thus worth considering.

 

 

 

You might try posting this question on the Celebrity board to see if anyone has experience.  Maybe Celebrity gave them information as "just in case," even if the trip actually worked out as planned.   I know there are a couple of reviews of the excursion from 2-3 years ago, but going in the opposite direction. 

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22 hours ago, CCJack said:

thank you for the reply..   That is a situation I didn't think about.  After Milford, the ship heads to Australia, so it seems if the overland excursion people from Queenstown can't board in Milford, then they would be flying to Australia?  That doesn't sound like a good option.  I will call Celebrity but sometimes it is hard to get answers to detailed questions like these.   I am also assuming the inland trip and Queenstown is appealing and offers its own beauty and thus worth considering.

 

 

By the time the ship reaches Dunedin they will know what weather and sea conditions the ship will encounter during the Fiordland cruising and would cancel the excursion if there was any doubt that the ship would be able to enter Milford Sound.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We just returned from this itinerary...we did not want to miss any of the sounds, and glad we didn’t...instead, we chose to go to NZ a few days earlier and fly to Queenstown...spent 3 days there...had a great time...the scenery is amazing...one day we did a tour to Mt. Cook and went to the Tasman glacier...pictures do not do it justice...that would be my suggestion...plus Dunedin was great.. we went to the Albatross colony among other things so would have been disappointed to miss that...

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We were on the Ruby Princess (March 8 sailing)  and did the overnight excursion, getting off the ship in the Milford Sound and getting back on in Dunedin. It was well worth the money. The weather was sunny and warm. We feel fortunate we were able to do it because we were told that the 2 prior cruises could not offload passengers because of rough seas and had to cancel the tour. 

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  • 2 months later...

We did this on a January 2016 Celebrity Solstice sailing.   We really enjoyed it.  It's a long ride but with a number of stops.  We had no issues with weather.  Lots of stops.  We enjoyed Queenstown and the steamboat/sheep sheering.  The hotel was very nice.  We also stopped at a bungy jumping river gorge along the way.  You can sign up to do it.  You can upgrade to something called private journeys to a much smaller minivan type vehicle with more intimate stops for of course more dollars.  Here is a small video clip of Milford Sound as we got off the ship and the bungy jump.  Good luck as Jan 2021 may still be at risk.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/22/2020 at 4:32 PM, zalusky said:

We did this on a January 2016 Celebrity Solstice sailing.   We really enjoyed it.  It's a long ride but with a number of stops.  We had no issues with weather.  Lots of stops.  We enjoyed Queenstown and the steamboat/sheep sheering.  The hotel was very nice.  We also stopped at a bungy jumping river gorge along the way.  You can sign up to do it.  You can upgrade to something called private journeys to a much smaller minivan type vehicle with more intimate stops for of course more dollars.  Here is a small video clip of Milford Sound as we got off the ship and the bungy jump.  Good luck as Jan 2021 may still be at risk.

 

 

IMG_1376.mov

 

 

thank for the reply and video... reminds me of the fjords in Norway, looks really beautiful.   Yes, our cruise is likely 50/50 at this point.   It was a re-schedule after our Japan cruise was cancelled with the very first round of China / Japan cancellations - at that point there really was not discussion of COVID in U.S. or Austrailia, so we rebooked to an Australia NZ cruise - then things really went downhill for cruises !     Plan B may be to keep our flights and just do NZ and Australia on our own perhaps adding a flight to Queenstown.   

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On 6/3/2020 at 1:40 AM, CCJack said:

 

    Plan B may be to keep our flights and just do NZ and Australia on our own perhaps adding a flight to Queenstown.   

I'm assuming you don't live in Australia or NZ so your Plan B may not be viable either. Although there is talk of a Trans-Tasman Bubble opening in September so that Australians and NZers can travel freely between the two countries without any quarantine restriction, the borders of both countries will still remain closed to international travellers, or at least heavily restricted, and would still required a mandatory quarantine for anyone arriving in either country from outside the Trans-Tasman bubble. And there is no indications, so far, of how long the international borders will be closed.

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On 6/9/2020 at 8:38 PM, OzKiwiJJ said:

I'm assuming you don't live in Australia or NZ so your Plan B may not be viable either. Although there is talk of a Trans-Tasman Bubble opening in September so that Australians and NZers can travel freely between the two countries without any quarantine restriction, the borders of both countries will still remain closed to international travellers, or at least heavily restricted, and would still required a mandatory quarantine for anyone arriving in either country from outside the Trans-Tasman bubble. And there is no indications, so far, of how long the international borders will be closed.

Yes,  thanks for the update... we are traveling from the U.S.  (Ann Arbor, Michigan).....  I think Australia and NZ may restrict visitors from the U.S.  - just don't know how long...  We will play it by ear and maybe cancel our 2nd trip due to COVID!   We also bought tix to Australian Open through a 3rd party company.   My guess is if the Ausie open is cancelled I may not see my money for those tickets from the 3rd party company.  However, hopefully cruise and airfare would be refunded by the carriers.....  Keep me posted if you hear more !

 

Interesting times for travelers !

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10 hours ago, CCJack said:

Yes,  thanks for the update... we are traveling from the U.S.  (Ann Arbor, Michigan).....  I think Australia and NZ may restrict visitors from the U.S.  - just don't know how long...  We will play it by ear and maybe cancel our 2nd trip due to COVID!   We also bought tix to Australian Open through a 3rd party company.   My guess is if the Ausie open is cancelled I may not see my money for those tickets from the 3rd party company.  However, hopefully cruise and airfare would be refunded by the carriers.....  Keep me posted if you hear more !

 

Interesting times for travelers !

The Australian Open is still planned to go ahead but at this time whether there will be spectators is unknown, although sporting events are opening up to spectators and some already have had them but not so far in Victoria. Only small numbers are allowed at this stage - up to perhaps 25% of capacity.  It is 7 months to the AO so it still a big unknown. If there another spike of cases through winter, who knows what will happen. One thing I do know is that the ballkids' trials haven't been held and there is no word yet on when that will happen - my grandson is through to the second round as he was a ball kid last year. The AO will be conducted under very different conditions to what it ever has been in the past.

 

Leigh

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