With its diverse landscape, compact size and glowing international reputation, New Zealand is an increasingly popular cruise destination. Last year the country's biggest city and major cruise port, Auckland, welcomed in around 200,000 passengers so it's no surprise that the area takes its hospitality seriously!
Nicknamed 'The City of Sails', Auckland places a great deal of importance on its extensive harbourside and in recent years this area (including the queens Wharf cruise terminal itself) has been developed into a world-class entertainment and tourism hub.
Dotted with almost as many sleek restaurants as gleaming white yachts, the jewel in the waterfront's crown is undoubtedly the Viaduct harbour. Purpose-built for 1999 and 2002 America's Cup events, the 'Viaduct' sits alongside the cruise terminal and boasts top hotels, popular bars and the newly-opened and very modern Viaduct Events Center. Visitors can learn about the area's history at the National Maritime Museum or simply relax with a flat white or glass of wine at one of the shore-skimming cafes.
Small ferry rides are a great way of viewing the wider Auckland area, a 15-minute ride will take you to the charming, historic suburb of Devonport or the very lovely Birkenhead, while a longer journey allows you to explore Hauraki Gulf islands like bohemian Waiheke or tranquil Great Barrier.
Inland, visitors can take in panoramic views from the deck of the Skytower - the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere, while the chic suburbs of Parnell and Ponsonby offer boutique shopping, quaint colonial architecture and leisurely cafes. Shore excursions from the port of Auckland include tours through rural wineries, glow-worm spotting in Waitomo's famous caves and taste of indigenous Maori culture in geothermal Rotorua.
Favourite ship: Celebrity Solstice
Favourite destination: Croatia & Turkey
Best cruise tip: Check out which ports are famous for what souvenir so you don't purchase everything at the first port of call. Leave plenty of room in read more...
Favourite ship: Crown Princess
Favourite destination: Venice
Best cruise tip: Get to know the crew onboard your ship especially the Bar Staff. They are the people who know all the best places to visit in the read more...
Favourite ship: Regent Navigator
Favourite destination: Anywhere new! Have been to Hong Kong, Bali and Singapore, Australia and fell in love with each instantly
Best cruise tip: Cruise ship spas often offer discounts for first-day and port-day treatments. Stop by the spa, or check your daily newsletters to find out about deals.
Favourite ship: Pacific Dawn
Best cruise tip: When cruising you should unplug. Cruising offers a totally different experience so take it all in. Keep yourself free from read more...
Favourite ship: Queen Mary 2
Best cruise tip: Get to know your ship before you sail! That way, you can maximize your holiday by knowing in advance what facilities you'd like to read more...