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Ever sat back & thought, "Cruising's not for me as l'd have to fly overseas to get on the cruise"? Years ago, this used to be true, but not anymore!

Auckland City's Champs Elysees that is Queen Street has a fantastic Cruise Terminal at the end of it and what better place to try your first cruise than there. Parked up throughout the year are cruise ships from a myriad of companies that include Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess Cruises and P&O South Pacific. These companies all have their own unique style such as six star luxury, great for couples, 3-5 star Cruises for families... some even have a hydro slide on the deck...

Anything from a short 3-4 day Comedy or Bay of Islands Cruise (you don't even need to pack your passport for this one!) to a 15 night Auckland to Sydney Cruise which takes in the Majestic Fiordland National Park before heading east across the Tasman to Hobart, Melbourne & Sydney. (I've done this from Dunedin - check out my blog here!)

Or for those interested in the Islands - try a P & O 7-12 night cruise to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu & Niue.

Wondering what's best about the Cruising lifestyle? Meals are all inclusive, activities onboard all inclusive, pay as you go drinks or pre purchase - and most importantly, unpack your suitcase only once.

So go on, book that cruise and get ready to experience the trip of a lifetime from your own back yard!

(Orginally published in Essence Magazine, Ashburton)

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