Fiordland’s luxury cruise operator Fiordland Discovery is preparing to launch Milford Sound’s only overnight winter cruise.
The boutique cruise operator – which offers unrivalled access to Milford Sound and Fiordland on the Fiordland Jewel – launched in 2016, but this winter marks the first full year in operation for the family-owned business.
The Fiordland Jewel is a custom-built 24m catamaran featuring a helipad, hot tub, private king suites and chef-prepared cuisine. Opening for the season on July 15, it is the only operator in Milford Sound to offer overnight Milford Sound cruises during winter.
Accommodating up to 20 people per cruise, Fiordland Discovery also offers day trips (crayfish lunch cruises) for guests wanting to fly in and out of Queenstown and Te Anau, landing directly on the boat in Milford Sound via helicopter.
Rob Swale, Queenstown-based owner of Fiordland Discovery, says winter brings a whole new dimension to the Fiordland Jewel experience. Not only does the well-appointed vessel provide quiet solace from the busyness of Queenstown during the ski season, the winter landscape is incredible.
“The cooler months are ideal for exploring the fiords – it’s a surreal feeling being able to enjoy the snowy peaks and captivating wildlife from the comfort of your own spacious cabin, or even from the top-deck hot tub with a wine in hand,” he says.
Designed and built by Swale – a long-time commercial fisherman and one of the area’s most experienced skippers – theFiordland Jewel accommodates 20 passengers overnight in nine climate-controlled cabins, each with their own ensuite bathroom. Overnight cruises are run by Swale and his wife Kate Rollason and include a decadent three-course dinner as well as a full cooked or continental breakfast.
“We established Fiordland Discovery to give guests up-close-and-personal access to the phenomenal wilderness in a luxury setting,” adds Swale.
“We are a family-operated business with a genuine connection to the area and we know Fiordland and Milford Sound inside and out. It’s fantastic being able to share our knowledge and enthusiasm for this region with our guests so they can have the experience of a lifetime.”
Winter Milford Sound Overnight Cruises run from July 15-September 24, 2018.