Adventures in Australia and New Zealand With Norwegian Cruise Line

By on January 21, 2018

By Norine Rae—

Nothing is more exiting to me than visiting new countries. Each quest is unique and offers the traveler the opportunity to gain new life experiences. My hope is that I share a bit of sunshine with those I meet along the way. This past December I embarked on a 14-day voyage with Norwegian Cruise Line along the stunning coastlines of Australia and New Zealand. 

Auckland, New Zealand Harbor

This was a special trip in celebration of my sixtieth birthday, allowing me to also check Australia and New Zealand off my bucket list. For years I have longed to see New Zealand and since I have Scandinavian roots I thought Norwegian Cruise Line would be a great choice for adventure and value. Traveling with me was my dear friend and sister-in-law, Carol Doyel, Editor-in-Chief of, which made it even better as we always have a great time together and encourage one another. 

Our trip was truly amazing from start to finish. Even the discomfort of having a rough day at sea as we crossed the Tasman Sea, was diminished by the joy of seeing the spectacular fjords of Milford Sound with the cascading falls riveting from the shear cliffs above. I remember one of the crew members saying, “The Tasman is always angry,” so I was really pleased to find the return voyage from the North Island of New Zealand to be much calmer.

Each night we would read our Freestyle Daily to determine our focus for the following day – circling our favorite events, entertainment, activities, including spa events and dining choices. There were several days that we didn’t have enough time to do everything we wanted to, but we did our best to do as much as possible when we were onboard the beautiful ship, The Jewel. 

We ate to our heart’s delight while also making sure to workout each day at the gym and participated in the free onboard dance and exercise classes to off set our extra indulgence of two desserts a day! The gym and spa staff members were very encouraging offering great nutritional and health solutions to create a balanced vacation of pampering, relaxation, and activity. 

But what really makes Free Style cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line an exceptional way to travel is that every day you get to choose what you want to do from the many and various options available. Every Port offered its own beauty from botanical gardens, architecture, museums, mountainous landscapes, wildlife, and wineries. After returning from the day excursions we enjoyed music and food on the deck as we sat by the pool or took a swim, when the weather permitted. 

At the end of each day we would prepare for the evening events of diner and maybe a show at the Stardust Theater. There are several free dining experiences to choose from, our favorite was Azura – we loved the ambiance. But wherever we chose to eat, the food was wonderful. We found the performances at the Stardust to be outstanding and also enjoyed dancing at the Spinnaker Lounge on the top of the ship. Rather you had a dance partner or not, it really didn’t matter because people would dance with others around them, all in fun. Throughout the ship there were several venues of music to suit everyone’s taste, we would go from one to another until we found one we liked best. There was even a night we decided to just stay in our room to relax and watch a movie.

It is hard to say which Port was my favorite, each provided unique experiences, but we both really enjoyed visiting Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand because of our fondness for the Lord of The Rings. What surprised me was that Weta is also responsible for the creation of over 100 other movies, many that I have enjoyed over the years including Avatar. In Tauranga we visited Hobbiton Movie Set, which was an incredible experience that no fan would want to miss!

Onboard, several people shared that they had taken previous cruises with Norwegian, which offers great promotional programs for returning clients. I too am looking forward to my next voyage. No matter the destination, I’m certain that I will enjoy the extraordinary entertainment, relaxation, and adventures on my next cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. My thanks go out to the crew on The Jewel and to Carol for making my sixtieth birthday such a memorable celebration!

Norine Rae

About Norine Rae

Norine Rae resides in Redding, California where she is a member of Bethel Church. In 2012 she completed her Master’s in Intellectual Leadership from A.W. Tozer Seminary through Simpson University. She has worked over 30 years in Human Services fields and has done extensive work in ministry, missions, and leadership both foreign and domestic. She is a lifelong learner, international speaker, minister, writer, mother, and friend. You will find her at: or

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Adventures in Australia and New Zealand With Norwegian Cruise Line