Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 16 September 2011

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cruisesrugby world cup
sportstravel and leisure
vacation destinations

rugby1It’s one of the most decadent ways to enjoy this year’s rugby world cup; mingling with players and lapping up the New Zealand sun from the deck of a luxury cruise liner. While most of us will be watching the matches at home with a TV-dinner and a luke-warm beer, a selection of lucky globetrotters will be setting sail for the South Pacific aboard the Pacific Dawn - a rugby-themed, floating clubhouse whisking sports fans from stadium to stadium, cramming in plenty of exotic spots and cosmopolitan city stops along the way. Conjured up by specialist holiday company Gullivers Sports Travel, the ‘Odyssey Green’ tour gives sports fans a chance to catch the Auckland quarter-finals, semi-finals, Bronze finals, and the all-important Rugby World Cup Final 2011, from the comfort of P&O’s four star floating hotel.

Fulfilling every rugby fan’s dream, the sports travel company have also filled the cruise liner with international rugby personalities including Gareth Chilcott, Jason Leonard, Stuart Barnes, Zinzan Brooke, George Gregan and Chris ‘Buddha’ Handy. The sporting legends will be doing a series of exclusive sports nights including Q&A sessions and 'Question of Sport' themed evenings. And if that’s not enough to satisfy the most serious of rugby fans, there’s also a cinema on-board playing footage of classic rugby games from bygone eras.

But there’s a lot more to the celeb-packed trip than just rugby. As true fans of the game know, a huge part of any tour is the chance to get right to the heart of the host country - and this two-week getaway does just that.


The first stop on the sports tour is the city of Gisborne on the Northern shore of Poverty Bay, where the luxury liner is due to moor up. The bay got its name after Captain James Cook - the first known European to set foot in New Zealand - struggled to get hold of the provisions that he and his crew needed during their time there. Despite its name, the area is famous for its crisp Chardonnay and abundant avocados, making it a great place to indulge in local gourmet traditions.

From Gisborne - which is the first city in the entire world to see the sun rise - the cruise liner moves to Hawke’s Bay where wine enthusiasts can enjoy the area’s spectacular food and wine festival. The cruise continues through Napier with its internationally renowned Art Deco buildings, and on past the White Island, where smoke continues to rise from New Zealand’s only active marine volcano.

Sailing on to the well-known region of Tauranga, passengers will be able to take a short trip to Rotorua which is packed with amazing natural features from geysers to thermal pools to natural hot mud baths. The area is also famous for the strong smell of sulphur that fills the air.

The Bay of Islands is the final stop on the tour, offering a breath-taking vista of 144 islands surrounded by shimmering waters and superb beaches. Dropping anchor off the coast of Paihia, known as the “jewel” of the Bay of Islands and the location where Maori and British people signed a peace treaty, passengers can explore the stunning coastline, sailing, swimming, kayaking, snorkelling, diving, and fishing to their heart’s content.

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