No, this post isn’t sponsored. We just really had a great time with Real Journeys.
Leaving Milford Sound with Zach’s mom and stepmom after having spent the night on the Milford Mariner overnight cruise, we were buzzing with satisfaction and picking apart the highlights of the last 18 hours, much like you might do after seeing an awesome concert. By awesome concert, I mean someone like Pearl Jam. An older band who have been putting on shows for twenty-odd years. For the Real Journeys tour company, rocking out is what they do every day.
The weather was clear, the jade colored water was sparkling, and the dolphins were a-plenty. We boarded at 4pm and were offered a bowl of mushroom soup. I suppose I was getting a little hungry, thanks Real Journeys for realizing that for me. We headed out past Mitre Peak, the tallest sea cliff in the world, while Kendra, our nature narrator explained how vegetation grows on the rock faces without any dirt. The loudspeaker system was set up so whether on deck, in the bar, or the bathroom, you could hear the announcements and Milford Sound trivia.
During afternoon activity time, Zach and I explored the coastline in kayaks while Pat and Lydia zipped around the bays checking out the Mollymorks, a type of albatross (albatrosian?) bird. We met back at the ship for a bottle of bubbly.
As the sun began to set, Kendra told us, “I see many of you are enjoying your cocktails. You might want to take them up on deck with you to check out the pod of dolphins that has come to play.” So, with a glass of wine in hand and the sun setting, we went onto the deck and watched the dolphins zip and dive and flip and swim around the boat until someone announced that dinner was ready.
The staff anticipated every need and provided excellent service. Kendra’s nature talks never competed with the stunning sights of the sound and there were many moments of big, wondrous silence. The boat was immaculate, the food was good, the wine list reasonably priced, and even the 6:45am wake up call was as gentle as possible. We ate breakfast while the sound was still dark and watched the day lighten as we headed out to the feisty Tasman Sea. Adrenaline is never a bad start to the day!
Zach and I haven’t done something like this since being here in New Zealand. I often opt for a romp in the backwoods and write off cruises and tours as touristy. As if touristy is synonymous with tacky. But it’s not. Not when the service is subtle and the staff cares about everyone having a great time. At about $250 a head, the ticket was a special treat, but worth every penny. If you are ever in the Milford Sound area, treat yourself to a Real Journeys cruise. It was delightful.