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The Good guide to cruising

Earlier this year Good was invited by the 2018 Best Premium Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, to join Celebrity Solstice, Australia and New Zealand’s highest rated cruise ship, on voyage from Auckland to Melbourne.

Words Cola Larcombe

When given the opportunity to go on a cruise for work, my immediate answer was “yes!”. I was keen to experience this new way of travel to discover why so many vacationers opt to cruise.

We boarded Celebrity Solstice in Wellington, a 2850-guest, modern luxury ship launched in 2008, and well known to the cruising set for her modern style, finest wining and dining, and unique serenity spaces. Our route followed New Zealand’s pristine coast, with some of the most jaw-dropping scenery, before traversing the Tasman and Bass straights on to Tasmania and mainland Australia. If staying onboard, there’s more island styling with a shimmy up to Hawaii.

What to expect

When booking your cruise, you can build your own package. With Celebrity Cruises a good choice is the Concierge Class located in prime position on the ship, with a range of additional perks. We had a beverage package, all-inclusive food and internet, and enjoyed specialty dining, spa treatments and shore excursions. More reasonable than a hotel, it’s also a chance to experience the international tastes covered at 11 different restaurants, including the healthy AquaSpa Café, anytime room service and eight chic bars and lounges. Ship-wide there are some mind-blowing discoveries along the way, whether that be the palate-pleasing lobster bisque, a Californian chardonnay or a French 11 degustation course. My oxygen facial was another standout, as was the Persian Garden where I was mostly horizontal, on a heated ceramic lounger, detoxing in billows of aromatic steam.

Itinerary highlights

  • Day at sea Dusky Sound and Milford Sound first up. A full day of bliss taking in the Sounds, so spectacular on a sunny day from the top deck of this cruiseliner. Witness waterfalls and faraway glaciers, feel witnessed under the hugest peak’s shadow, named Mitre Peak as it resembles the headwear of a bishop.
  • On to Passport Lounge for porthole windows and some grand Hollywood style, a wee nip and some calm before entering international waters.
  • Day on land 7am: Arrive Hobart. 6pm: Depart Hobart. We were tempted with the vineyards, oysters and countryside touring, but opted to spend our time engaged in the art and ancestry, influences and movement of contemporary Australian art at the world-class Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

MONA is located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula north of Hobart, just up the river from port. It’s a boundary-pushing exploration of creativity and expression, often irreverent. Up floors of dark limestone walls with projected art and installations, it’s a welcome provocation for me, not at all offensive. Comments are welcome as you navigate their app. The art changes constantly here so you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get when you visit.

Boat life

Do as much or as little as you want aboard Celebrity Solstice. If you’re the restless type, there are endless entertainment options, including a jaw-dropping circus show or you could attend a rock concert  in the main theatre. There is something for everybody.

Protecting the oceans

At its core tourism depends on the beauty of the environment. The MARPOL Convention and domestic law prohibit the discharge of garbage from ships into the sea. My tour down below in the expansive kitchen galley to see their onboard recycling efforts reveals an extensive operation of waste reduction systems, recycling all their glass, aluminium, metal and paper, and all strictly certified and independently regulated. Celebrity Cruises operates Advanced Wastewater Purification systems on its ships to treat all wastewater. Aiming for zero waste, 75 per cent of the waste landed from their ships never sees a landfill. Most is reused, recycled or converted to energy. With big 2020 environmental goals to reduce their footprint, by emissions reduction, sustainable sourcing and destination stewardship, they are committed to protecting and preserving our natural resources, preventing pollution, and energy generation that can maximise efficiency in the use of water and energy onboard. I learned many amazing facts on these topics from the ship’s officers at a lecture I selected to go to called Oceans Ahead. Without healthy oceans, life on this planet
will not survive.

Celebrity Cruises supports Conservation International to promote clean water, fresh air, a living climate and enough food. Their Team Earth campaign invites us to help protect the species, forests, rivers, marine ecosystems and biologically rich ‘hot spots’ that are most important to the future of life on Earth.

As well as their conservation efforts, Celebrity Cruises is well aware of the power of diversity and inclusion: the company’s 75,000 talented employees represent 122 countries, and deliver memorable vacation experiences to 6,000,000 guests visiting 1000 ports around the world.

Royal Caribbean has also been recognised by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as one of the 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies. Royal Caribbean was also most recently recognised as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity in 2019 by Forbes. 

Life at sea

As well as the mindful education and rising consciousness, balanced with all the silent discos, spa indulgences and energetic arts you can handle, somehow you awake ready for more, aided by a superb crew.

For rest and relaxation, some fun and much exploring, cruising provides a luxurious way to experience all these different angles. Natural New Zealand is revealed in its truest form.

And like those great navigators of the past, we get to discover our connectedness to the elements from the power of the ocean.

Water views

You’ll be in no rush to be online in this overwater world with a veranda stateroom that comes with views of sunrises and sunsets bouncing like lasers across the ocean. The interior cabins range in size from 183 to 200 square feet.

What to pack

  • Something casually chic for a dance or show with dinner.
  • A swimsuit for the adult’s only-solarium.
  • Exercise gear, if you prefer to work out at the world-class Canyon Ranch Spa Club or on the Lawn Club’s natural cut grass on the top deck.
  • Wild-weather gear for the open deck when cruising the landmarks.
  • A rucksack for your Shore Excursions (your Celebrity Cruise tote and mini tote are perfect for days at sea to carry your SeaPass Card and Celebrity Today, a daily schedule of onboard activities).

Celebrity Cruises is deploying Celebrity Eclipse to Melbourne for the 2020/2021 season. Find out about this and more expeditions, including Galapagos, Alaska and Canada. celebritycruises.co.nz

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