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All reviews milford mariner overnight cruise milford wanderer nature cruise new zealand tasman sea the bus te anau water activities slide show next morning nature guide before dinner box lunch doubtful sound south island tender boat
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Reviewed 21 March 2018

Our group was of 4 retired siblings travelling by car. Although the trip to Milford sound from Queenstown was a 6hr journey with stops we loved the scenery and coming into Milford through the one way tunnel was awesome.The scenery on the boat trip was amazing and the staff were helpful and friendly.
We booked into Real Journeys with a half hour to spare.
The 11am cruise was quite crowded with a large tour group of International visitors. The front deck was crowded so went to the back of the boat to take photos however while taking photos I was pushed aside by a fellow tourist who was also taking photos. I found this an unpleasant experience.
I would recommend that people who are a small group to do the optional Nature cruise where the groups are more likely to be smaller and quieter.

Thank Robyn497
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2018 via mobile

We took the overnight cruise on the Milford Mariner, including the coach drive up from Queenstown, and the flight back. I was somewhat dreading the long bus ride, but the bus driver/tour guide Chris was excellent and informative—-somehow it wasn’t too long, and we had just the right number of stops to stretch our legs, take photos, use the restroom etc. The Mariner was a very nice vessel, and did not seem too crowded even with 60plus people on board. Next time I would
Try to request an upper level cabin, as they had bigger windows, and some even entry from the deck, so no doubt would seem larger and less claustrophobic.
The food was very good— quite a nice buffet dinner and breakfast. In general the crew was professional.

Most of the guests took part in either the kayaking or going out on a tender to get a closer look. There was some misunderstanding as it seemed that we were told there would be another opportunity in the morning before disembarking to do some of these things again, but that was not the case.

Of course the scenery was spectacular. We were fortunate with the weather that we could go all the way out to the end of the sound (fiord).
One disappointing aspect, that a number of us on the cruise expressed to each other, was that the whole time we felt we were being rushed. Hurry and get ready for the water activities (which didn’t last long), as soon as you get back time for a quick drink then dinner served; finish up and listen to nature talk....then the evening was over—-very little
Time to just relax and enjoy the sense of being out there in the fiord. The worst was in the morning, when we were told breakfast was available from 645 to 7:15, at which point it would be taken up! No latecomers! And also, while we were eating our breakfast, the crew wanted to go in our cabins and strip the beds . I understand they were trying to get us off and clean the ship so they could squeeze in an afternoon group, before shooing them off for the next group of overnighters. It just felt very rushed, considering the money we were paying—-there was hardly time to relax and take it all
In. This took away some from the “magic” of the experience.
If Real Journeys could figure that part out, it would definitely be money well spent. Still,
It was unforgettable, as was the 40 minute flight back to Queenstown on the small airplane!

Thank laura714
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2018

It was a pleasure not to have to drive for a change but it was a long day on the bus from Queenstown to Milton Sound and return- about 10 hours. The organisation of the trip is very efficient with a taxi from the hotel to the Real offices in Queenstown and the departure by bus. There are beautiful views of the lakes and mountains with several stops on the way for comfort, coffee and views. This got us to Milford Sound and the cruise on the lake.

One thing to note about Milford Sound and the west coast of South Island in general, because of the Southern alps they don't measure rainfall in cm. Last year Milford Sound had 9 metres of rain! Add to that there is usually low cloud obscuring the mountain tops and 4 metre waves where the fjord meets the sea. However it proved to be an unusual day. No rain and high cloud so that you could see the sea cliffs. With foresight we had put a decent red in the backpack and enjoyed a great picnic outside on the upper deck of the boat. We had a great three hour cruise with 2000 metre sea cliffs and waterfalls. We also saw six fur seals that rather surprised us as this was advertised as a nature cruise and this did seem underwhelming on the animal count front. The drive back was quicker and there were some spectacular sunsets as we got back to Queenstown

There are options, depending on the weather and depth of your wallet, to fly back to Queenstown. However this was, overall, a very enjoyable day.

Thank Jon_Janet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2018

Real Journeys is a brilliant experience facilitated by real people - so friendly, so helpful, and so, so obviously happy about their jobs - their staff truly enjoy their work and it shows. Did both their Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound overnight cruises, and loved every minute of each. Did the "smaller" vessel for the Milford Sound cruise and really loved the authentic feel and smaller number of people on board. We got the sense that with the smaller vessel, we could sail much closer alongside the majestic cliffs and waterfalls of the sound. Waking up in Milford Sound in the morning, with hot fresh coffee on offer to take out to the decks, with the mist on the water, the sun beaming across from the heights of the glaciers above, and the lush forestry in between, was just postcard-breathtaking. Sailing alongside the dolphins in Doubtful Sound was also thrilling. For both trips, the afternoon tea service just after launching really hits the spot and was a great culinary "welcome aboard." The meals throughout were absolutely delicious. The cabins were comfortable. But again, it was the real staff that made the Real Journeys really incredible - so informative, so helpful, so cheerful, so welcoming, so happy to be there and so excited about showing their guests the beauty of these places. Both cruises were spectacular, unforgettable experiences. Highly recommend! Might be challenging to have to decide which of the two to do, but doing both did get a fair discount off the price.
(note: actually did these trips in December 2016, no idea why the review didn't post straightaway, but a year later, they remain a brilliant memory and happy to get this posted for sure).

Thank Skyehiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2018 via mobile

One of the undoubted highlights of a month touring New Zealand was the overnight cruise. The enthusiasm and professionalism of the crew was only surpassed by the quality of the food and the scenery. Even in the pouring rain this is a trip that will produce many great memories.

Thank 91solar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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