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Milford Sound Cruise - RealNZ
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Reviewed 1 May 2024

The bus ride from Queenstown to Milford Sound was long but great because of both the scenery and Peanut the driver’s commentary. Peanut was informative and engaging. The Sound is magnificent.

Date of experience: March 2024
Thank 697rebekahb
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
RealNZ_Aotearoa, Guest Relations Manager at RealNZ, responded to this reviewResponded 7 May 2024

Thank you for sharing your positive experience with us! We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the bus ride from Queenstown to Milford Sound, despite its length, and that Peanut made it even more enjoyable with his informative and engaging commentary. We'll be sure to pass along your kind words to Peanut! It's wonderful to hear that you found the scenery along the way to be great and that you were able to appreciate the magnificence of Milford Sound. We strive to provide memorable experiences for our guests, and we're delighted to hear that we succeeded with your trip.

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Reviewed 29 April 2024

Milford Sound is gorgeous, but getting there can be awful if you choose the wrong company, which is what we did with RealNZ!!!
Uncomfortable 10 hour bus ride: Seats are narrow, so good luck if you have long legs. No toilets either on board! And no space for a small backpack...
Poor time management! Our driver got to Milford Sound late and told us to run to our boat as it was leaving, which proved difficult as the quay is full of different groups trying to get on the right boat.
Never again!

Date of experience: March 2024
Thank ginsengNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
RealNZ_Aotearoa, Public Relations Manager at RealNZ, responded to this reviewResponded 7 May 2024


We're truly sorry to hear about your disappointing experience with us. Your feedback is deeply concerning, and we apologise for the discomfort and inconvenience you faced during your journey to Milford Sound. We appreciate your honesty and regret that we were not able to provide you with the exceptional experience that we strive for. If there's anything else we can do to address your concerns or if you would like to discuss your experience further, please don't hesitate to reach out to us as feedback@realnz.com. We value your feedback and hope to have the opportunity to regain your trust in the future.

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Reviewed 23 April 2024

I have wished to sail the Milford Sound for the last 40+ years, and finally I did it. It rained, but, it's the Sound. We sailed on the 'Sovereign'.
Oh... what a DISAPPIONTMENT. Even though I explained when I booked that I had a Disability, it was not made clear that it would mean my Entire trip would be spent sitting down on the entrance deck with NO clear view of the outside. With the rain on the windows, and with the side of the boat coming up to my upper cheek level, viewing was virtually Nil.
I was stranded on the downstairs entry level, as there IS NO accommodations on the boat to cater for the disabled - this also includes access to a toilet. No Lift, No realistic angled ramps. I need a x4 wheeled walker for any mobility, but am unable to climb stairs. If you are in a wheelchair - forget it!
Advice from RealNZ to travelers states, 'Cash Only' on board. You can buy your lunch/coffee etc from the onboard cafeteria. NO! By the time we found a seat, realised 'this is it for us' and my husband battled his way through another - catered for - tour group onboard, to get upstairs (only 10 - 15 minutes later), there was Literally, no lunch to buy. The level of catering, considering there are a known number of passengers per trip, was unbelievably inadequate. Had we known it would be that bad, we would happily have taken a sandwich and a flask. There was coffee on a counter near us, but we were informed, 'that was for the -catered for- tour group, and we could get ours upstairs. Again NO!
There was an upside on the day. We chose to travel by RealNZ Coach, return from Te Anau. We had the most amazing and accommodating Coach Driver 'Peanut'. Knowledgeable, Articulate, Humerous, Peanut made the trip both ways a very pleasurable experience. He is a keeper.
In ALL a very disappointing experience, and until RealNZ or any other tourist providers accept they need to get in to the 21st Century and cater for everyone, I suspect we will not be the only tourists to miss out. As a Kiwi myself, I am embarrassed to think some may have come from overseas and have to face such a disappointment.
Sadly I can't add any photos, I couldn't take any! This was meant be the Highlight of my South Island trip. Turns out, it is my biggest disappointment. From my experience, if you have a PHYSICAL DISABILITY, I would not recommend this trip.

Date of experience: February 2024
Thank Karen A
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
RealNZ_Aotearoa, Guest Relations Manager at RealNZ, responded to this reviewResponded 7 May 2024

We are deeply sorry to hear about your disappointing experience during your long-awaited trip to Milford Sound. Your feedback is invaluable to us, and we sincerely apologise for the lack of accommodations for your disability. It's disheartening to hear that you were unable to enjoy the scenic views and amenities onboard. We understand the frustration and disappointment you must have felt, especially after eagerly anticipating this trip for over 40 years. We share in your disappointment, and feel ashamed that our practices are falling short for the disabled community in New Zealand. We will be reviewing our policies and procedures to address our shortcomings, and ensure that all guests, regardless of their abilities, can fully enjoy the beauty of Milford Sound. If you would like to discuss your experience further, please reach out to feedback@realnz.com. We are pleased to hear that your coach driver, Peanut, provided a positive and enjoyable experience during the journey to and from Te Anau. We will be sure to pass along your kind words to Peanut and acknowledge his excellent service.

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Reviewed 22 April 2024

The coach trip to and from the cruise was good and the tour guide, Bruce, was very helpful and informative. We made a few stops along the way for pictures and the coach was large and comfortable with huge glass windows and a glass roof. However the positive coach ride was not followed by a positive boat cruise. It was a unorganised chaos of people running everywhere and pushing past eachother, it was like people had never been out before. There was no queuing system and people were pushing to the front and barging through. I was hit with umbrellas several times and also had my feet stood on many times too.

About 99% of tables were reserved for tours, buffet food and other food options so if you tried to save money, like me, you didn’t have a seat option reserved and had to walk round and round hoping to find a seat, this was near on impossible as I was one of the last to board the boat.

The whole journey was carnage and everyone was shouting and speaking so loud you can’t even hear the caption speaking and informing you of your surroundings. I understand the company cannot help the weather but it was so misty and cloudy you couldn’t even see the amazing views that you paid to visit. I at least expect to be able to hear about the history and facts about the area. Had I of been able to hear the announcements, the madness and stress of the unorganised people would have been worth it but instead I had to listen to everyone shouting and seeing no views for the entire journey.

I wouldn’t recommend this company purely because of their lack of control of the guests on board and the inconsideration of people who have bought their own lunch. I paid a lot of money for this tour and didn’t enjoy the main attraction.

Date of experience: April 2024
Thank Cherisse K
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
RealNZ_Aotearoa, Guest Relations Manager at RealNZ, responded to this reviewResponded 7 May 2024

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback on your recent trip to Milford Sound. We're truly saddened to hear about the negative aspects of your cruise. It's great that you found the coach trip enjoyable and that Bruce was helpful and informative, however we understand that this does not make up for the disappointment that followed. Your description of the situation is concerning, and we understand how frustrating it must have been to navigate through the crowds and not be able to hear the commentary. We apologise for the disappointment and frustration you experienced during your cruise with us, and want you to know that we take feedback such as yours seriously and will be looking into our processes. If you would like to discuss your experience further or if there's anything else we can do to address your concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at feedback@realnz.com.

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Reviewed 21 April 2024

Amazing trip! The bus tour was already Great with stops at amazing spots. Cruise was awesome despite or rather because of the rain! Great service and communication from RealNZ and busdriver! Highly recommended.

Date of experience: March 2024
Thank Traveler32559900161
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
RealNZ_Aotearoa, Guest Relations Manager at RealNZ, responded to this reviewResponded 7 May 2024

Thank you for sharing your amazing experience with us! We're thrilled to hear that you had a fantastic trip to Milford Sound and that you enjoyed both the bus tour and the cruise, it's true that the magic of Milford Sound really comes alive in the rain. We're also delighted to hear that you received great service and communication from the RealNZ crew, specifically your bus driver. Thank you for recommending us!

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