New Zealand Culinary Tour Cruise: 1 - 14 March 2020
I was honoured to be asked by Flight Centre to host a New Zealand Culinary Tour group. A food and wine theme onboard the cruise liner Royal Caribbean ‘Radiance of the Seas’, sailing from Adelaide to Sydney and exploring some foodie inspired destinations. Our itinerary combined relaxation and foodie heaven, onboard and onshore gorgeous locations. Our Flight Centre itinerary:
1 March 2020 - Adelaide
We embarked Radiance of the Seas and the afternoon was at leisure - relaxed poolside with a cocktail and exploring the ship. Our first evening commenced with our tour group ‘ Welcome Cocktail Party’ with pre-dinner drinks and canapes in the Starquest Lounge .
2 March 2020 – At Sea
Our group had a beautiful lunch in Giovanni’s Table restaurant, rustic Italian dishes were served with contemporary flair. This casual trattoria serves up a seemingly endless selection of Italian classics, like Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola, Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Risotto, Bolognese and many more. From the mouth-watering fresh pasta to the carefully-braised meats and stews, you can tour all of Italy without ever leaving the ship.
3 March 2020 – Melbourne
We docked in Melbourne with many options available in Australia's sport, culture and coffee capital. Many of its top attractions are right in the city centre, making exploration by foot an easy proposition. From a shot of single-origin espresso from a hip coffee shop and some people watching at Federation Square, Melbourne's art, culture and inner city exploring. Some wandered, some strolled the Royal Botanic Gardens and some just enjoyed relaxing with coffee!
4 March 2020 – At Sea
Today was a Kitchen Galley Tour and Champagne Brunch at Tides Restaurant. Our private Galley tour was a behind the scenes peek at how all the amazing food on Radiance of the Seas is prepared, and we enjoyed a private brunch with bottomless sparkling wine. We witnessed how the kitchens on board operate preparing thousands of delicious meals a day, and we also chatted with one of the head chefs. We were absolutely amazed how perfectly this hidden side of the ship ran and we welcomed some of the available staff to thank them, then of course we had to capture a huge tour group and kitchen team photo on the main dining room stairwell!
5 March 2020 – Hobart
We were treated to a private oysters and wine tour. Indulging in samples of delicious fresh oysters and wonderful Tasmanian wines. We visited the Barilla Bay Oyster Farm and learnt how premium pacific oysters are grown and harvested during your guided tour before tasting freshly shucked oysters. Even a sneak peek at their abalone. The gorgeous views of the Coal River Valley amazed us all we made your way to Meadowbank Winery. Savouring sips from a variety of splendid Tasmanian wines as we enjoyed the picturesque landscape.
6 and 7 March 2020 – at Sea
We just relaxed at sea…checking out the cruise planner for activities like sushi making classes, dancing classes, fitness classes, table tennis, movies – the options were endless! Some of us even enjoyed a 'Mystery Dinner' show event.
8 March 2020 – The Sounds, New Zealand
Scenic Cruising – Mountains and waterfalls abound in the South Island's Milford Sound, one of New Zealand's top attractions and a site of immense beauty. Called the eighth wonder of the world by Rudyard Kipling, the sound (technically a fjord) is part of Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site.
Scenic Cruising – Situated in Fiordland National Park, Doubtful Sound is the deepest and second-largest fjord in New Zealand. It was named by Captain Cook, the first European here, because he was doubtful that he would be able to sail his ship 'the Endeavor' back out of the sound due to the westerly winds. We witnessed the area's towering waterfalls - 619m Browne Falls in Hall Arm and 220m Helena Falls at Deep Cove.
Scenic Cruising – Lies among the grand fjords of Fiordland National Park in the southwest part of New Zealand's South Island. Named by Captain Cook when he sailed by at dusk on his first voyage in 1770, this spot holds one of the area's largest fjords, at almost 25 miles long. During the rainy season, you can spot hundreds of waterfalls splashing down from the verdant green hills into the dark deep waters. We kept an eye out for sunbathing seals on Seal Rock. We looked out for Astronomer's Point, a former observatory dating back to 1773 that overlooks this amazing fjord.
9 March 2020 – Dunedin, New Zealand
Leisure day exploring Dunedin Central, located on the southeast coast of New Zealand's South Island, on the Otago Peninsula.
10 March 2020 – Akaroa and Canterbury Plains, New Zealand
We enjoyed a private Canterbury Farm and Kiwi Lunch experience. We departed from Akaroa for a scenic drive to a farm on the Canterbury Plains. On arrival we enjoyed a Kiwiana style lunch with a glass of wine, followed by a sheep dog and sheep shearing demonstration and then wandered and explored the farm grounds which includes a little museum in the farm stables.
11 March 2020 – Wellington, New Zealand
A full day today seeing the sights of Wellington, New Zealand's capital, which sits at the southern tip of the North Island, roughly the middle of the country. Wellington is New Zealand's second-biggest city, after Auckland. Despite its smaller size, it has an abundance of cultural attractions like the National Library, National Archives, theaters and excellent museums. The city is also home to the country's film industry and is nicknamed Wellywood.
12 - 13 March 2020 – At Sea
We just relaxed at sea…checking out the Cruise Planner again for activities Royal Caribbean’s signature rock climbing wall, a round of mini golf, by the pool, brunching, movies or with a pint at the English Pub. Or choosing to restaurant/café hop around the ship.
For our final afternoon we enjoyed farewell drinks! Travelling and cruising together for the 2 weeks we chatted and laughed like we had known each other for years, loved it!
14 March 2020 – Sydney, Australia
We arrived in Sydney in the early morning with a gorgeous sunrise, views of the Sydney Harbour and Opera House. Following breakfast we disembarked from the ship and our adventure was over…until the next time!
Thank you Flight Centre for this amazing opportunity!