It was my first cruise experience in December 2010 and being on board Dawn Princess certainly made it very, very special.
Apart from the fact that it was a special birthday celebration for my husband’s 60th birthday, we were also looking for a totally relaxed break from our 3-year-old daughter. We chose a cruise on the recommendation that “Princess Pelicans” will take care of it all - and did they ever – Mia had a ball and the staff were outstanding.
The most enjoyable part of the cruise was sailing through Milford Sound. No words can truly describe the aura of its amazing natural landscape. The stillness around you is almost haunting, the scenery is breathtaking, and its tranquility is overwhelming.
Milford Sound is the best known of all the fiords in the incredible Fiordland park, and the Maori legend has it that the steep valley and sheer cliffs were carved by a god. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the pristine scenery has made it one of the most famous spots in New Zealand.
On our sailing, we could certainly see why, with a new dimension in the scenery unfolding every time we turned a corner. The gorges were covered in a soft mist that ascended into the sky – giving you a feeling as though you are at the gates of heaven.
Lower down, waterfalls softly cascaded down to the ever-still waters below. The sprays of the waterfalls appeared like dancing fairies blowing in the wind and disappearing into the stillness of the sky. The hues both in the water and mountains changed colour from blue, green, grey and white, depending on the rays of sunlight sprayed from the heavens above, creating mystical shadows.
The captain’s ability to steer the ship so close to the waterfalls amazed me. You can get sprayed, if not soaked, if you stand right at the front of the ship. The other touring boats around us seemed like smaller creatures about to be swallowed up by the big ship. They certainly seemed to have fun trying to get as close as possible to the big monster.
The ship bravely ventured right into the end of the sound, making you believe that you are never going to make your way back out. The captain’s ability to manouvre the ship and turn it around seems like an impossibility and when he manages it, you sigh a sigh of relief and bewilderment.
Supposedly Rudyard Kipling once described this area as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” and I think we can agree with him. Our day in Fiordland was truly a magical and heartwarming experience, and an extremely memorable part of a fantastic holiday!!