Day 1: Sydney
Arrive in Sydney (at your own arrangements) and find your way to the hotel to check in for one nights’ accommodation ahead of departing on your cruise tomorrow evening.
Day 2: Sydney – Cruise (D)
Today is the day! This evening, you depart on your Celebrity Solstice cruise to Auckland! The ship is scheduled to depart at 6.45pm and you are at your leisure until it is time to make your way to the cruise port. Australia’s Harbour City has a wealth of to-dos and must-sees, no matter if it is your first visit or your tenth. Plan ahead to book onto a behind-the-scenes tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House, or snap up tickets to tackle the climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Stroll along the golden sands of Bondi Beach, pay a visit to the residents of Taronga Zoo, or catch a ferry across the harbour to explore Manly. Soak in the history of The Rocks with a walk around this heritage suburb, or explore the cafes and boutiques in Surry Hills.
Be sure to arrive at the cruise port with ample time to clear boarding procedures. Drop your luggage off in your cabin and waste little time becoming acquainted with the Celebrity Solstice, the multi award-winning ship that is your home for the next 10 nights. Scout out the ship’s collection of bars and eateries, make a mental note to book in for a treatment or two in the divine day spa, look in at the ship’s boutiques, and find out what performances will take to the stage of the Solstice Theatre.
Day 3: At Sea (B, L, D)
Peer out the window of your cabin to find yourself staring out at an endless blue expanse of ocean. Your first full day on-board the Celebrity Solstice is spent at sea, making it an ideal opportunity to delve further into the ship’s array of facilities and amenities. First however, head to the Main Restaurant to fuel up with a hearty breakfast. All of your meals are included for the duration of the cruise, so you’ll never have to worry about where to go whenever you start to get peckish. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Begin to mingle with fellow passengers you meet in the ship’s shared spaces, or choose to log some down time by unwinding in your cabin with a good book or a nap.
Day 4: Hobart (B, L, D)
The Celebrity Solstice makes its first port in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. This charming city, though small, is jam-packed with heritage attractions, acclaimed restaurants, pretty parks and a gorgeous waterfront district. The ship is docked from 8am until 5pm. Take a walk through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, or move between exhibits and works inside the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. One of the most popular things to do in Hobart is a visit to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. This ground-breaking museum is actually a private collection and is renowned for its controversial pieces. Other things to do in Hobart include a trip to the historic Cascade Brewery, a walk along the Battery Point Sculpture Trail, or an outing to the summit of nearby Mount Wellington.
Day 5: At Sea (B, L, D)
Return to the high seas as the Celebrity Solstice begins its voyage towards New Zealand. Continue sampling the fare available at any of the ship’s restaurants – cuisines range from Italian to Japanese and South East Asian – or establish yourself in one of the lounge chairs located poolside. Active types can clock up some kilometres of the treadmill in the fitness centre, or you might tee up a game on the bocce or lawn bowls pitch.
Day 6: At Sea (B, L, D)
Another day of sailing and another day to continue relaxing as you take advantage of the facilities available to you on the Celebrity Solstice.
Day 7: Milford Sound – Doubtful Sound – Dusky Sound (B, L, D)
Welcome to New Zealand! The Celebrity Solstice sails into the narrow fjords of the breathtaking Milford Sound. Located within the Fiordland National Park, this natural wonder is one of the most visited sites in New Zealand. Visitors flock to admire a landscape of craggy mountain peaks, verdant rainforests, plummeting waterfalls and wildlife including penguins, fur seals and even dolphins. Have your camera at the ready at the ship spends an hour cruising through these waters. It is then onto Doubtful Sound, a lesser-known but equally stunning fjord. Originally named Doubtful Harbour by Captain Cook, the sound has three sections – First Arm, Crooked Arm and Hall Arm – and is home to several waterfalls and small islands. The last site visited of the day is Dusky Sound. Keep your eyes trained on the waters for sightings of seals and dolphins (whales have even been spotted at times!), and cruise past the sound’s numerous coves and islets.
Day 8: Dunedin (B, L, D)
Have today to discover the delights of Dunedin. The ship docks at 9am and is here until 7pm. Dunedin is often referred to a slice of Scotland in New Zealand, thanks to its strong Gaelic roots. It is also known for its rich Maori culture and its Victorian and Edwardian-era architecture. Visit New Zealand’s only castle at Larnach Castle & Gardens, or snap photos of the striking Dunedin Railway Station. Make for the Otago Peninsula to try your luck spotting resident royal albatross, as well as yellow-eyed penguins, blue penguins, and the rare New Zealand sea lion. Learn more about the legacy of the region by visiting the Otago Museum, stop to smell the blooms inside Dunedin Botanic Garden, or sate chocolate cravings with a stop at the Cadbury chocolate factory.
Day 9: Akaroa (B, L, D)
Today’s port is the former French-British settlement of Akaroa. Located on the Banks Peninsula, this photogenic town is best-known for its historic architecture, Francophile influence and excellent gourmet credentials. It is also home to Akaroa Beach, where the waters are often frequented by the rare Hector’s dolphins. The Celebrity Solstice is docked in Akaroa from 8am to 7pm. Some of the activity and sightseeing opportunities for travellers today include an excursion to the Akaroa Marine Reserve, a visit to the Akaroa Lighthouse or Akaroa Museum, and a walk through the Garden of Tane.
Day 10: At Sea (B, L, D)
Leave the beauty of New Zealand’s South Island behind as the Celebrity Solstice sets a course for the North Island. The whole day is spent at sea – the final such day of the cruising itinerary – so be sure to soak up as many of the ship’s culinary and entertainment offerings as you can.
Day 11: Tauranga (B, L, D)
The penultimate port of your cruise is Tauranga, a harbourside city located in the Bay of Plenty. It is the largest city in the region and can trace its history back to the first Maori settlement in the 13th century. Today, it is a popular destination for visitors wanting to sail, fish and head out onto the water on dolphin-watching expeditions. One of the best ways to get to know Tauranga is a walk around the downtown area. Stroll along the waterfront Strand, and look out for statues of Hairy Mclary, the namesake pooch from Dame Lynley Stuart Dodd’s iconic children’s books. Take in the heritage architecture of Elms Mission Station, or tackle one of the bush walks through McLaren Falls Park. Return to the Celebrity Solstice for your last evening aboard.
Day 12: Auckland – – Sydney (B)
The Celebrity Solstice sails into Auckland, arriving at 6.30am. Auckland is built around two harbours and enjoys a reputation as the ‘City of Sails’, thanks to its locals’ love of boating and the number of yachts anchored in the water at any one time. Get your bearings with a bird’s-eye view over the city from the observation deck at the Sky Tower or the summit of Mount Eden. Journey out to Waiheke or Rangitoto Islands, explore the paths woven throughout Auckland Domain, take a ferry across to Devonport, or find a bar or restaurant along the bustling harbourfront to settle in for a session of people watching.
Once you have officially disembarked the Celebrity Solstice, the rest of the day is at your leisure until you find your own way to the airport to catch your one-way flight back to Australia. You may choose to extend your trip by a couple of days (fee-free!) to make sure you have ample opportunity to fully discover this contemporary and vibrant city. Head out on day trips to further afield destinations such as to the Hobbiton movie set, the magical Waitomo Caves, and the spectacular Coromandel Peninsula.