My heart skipped a beat when I found out about this ten night Glatt Kosher cruise. It happens aboard one of the most magnificent liners in the world – the Norwegian Cruise Lines Jewel ship and visits the far away continent of Australia, going to Sydney and Melbourne, then on Wednesday stopping in Burnie, Tasmania. From there the fun continues on board this unbelievable ship at sea until Sunday you awaken to Napier, New Zealand, Monday in Tauranga, New Zealand, Tuesday in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and Wednesday disembarking in Oakland, New Zealand.
The cruise is on January 21-31, midsummer in that part of the equator.
Let’s start with Sydney Australia, where you embark at 5:00 pm. One of the most magnificent cities in the world, geographically – built on the sea shore and up high all over the rising mountain. The Ocean has an important landmark, the likes of which has not been seen anywhere – the Sydney Opera house, a delight to all the senses, a triumph in architectural design. Then there are the many beaches, Bondi Beach is one of the most famous ones for surfers and sun lovers. You climb the beautiful roads and there is Potts Point and downtown, Darling Point, all of which have views of the water and the sparkling city below. It’s inspirational, breathtaking and majestic.
If you can take a tour before embarking, do so – this city is not to be missed.
You embark the Jewel at 5:00pm, almost in time to change clothes and go to Kosherica’s allocated magnificent dining room (the ship has 3 floors of them). You’ll meet your table mates, be given menus of high-class gourmet Glatt Kosher foods, served on china plates with your glasses and silverware glittering in the light. As the waiter brings out your food you’ll be charmed and delighted by the elegance and fragrance of the food. One bite and you’re captive. These people know how to cook. In the most expensive restaurants in New York or Paris you won’t find food as delicious. And it’s Glatt Kosher to boot!
After one day at sea the ship arrives in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria. The architecture is historic and full of life. There are plenty of beautiful arcades, one-of-a-kind boutiques. The Melbourne Museum and The World Heritage – listed Royal Exhibition Building. You’ll find examples of Art Deco like in the beautiful Manchester Unity building and have your picture taken with a live koala bear at Healesville Sanctuary if you drive an hour and 10 minutes to Yarra Valley. If you stay in town there is a historic Luna Park and you and the kids could ride the rollercoaster. Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image are fascinating. You’ll have had your big Glatt kosher breakfast on the ship and will be able to pack up a lunch pack to take with you to sustain you until dinner.
Next day is Burnie, Tasmania, a port city with only 20,000 residents yet the place is full of things to see and do. Yes, there is a Tasmanian Devil – it’s not only a cartoon character but a real living rodent-like little creature. There are areas, in fact 40% of Tasmania, which are designated World Heritage reserves. So for nature lovers, the visit is brimming with accessible wildlife and wilderness. If you want a more urban experience, there is a vibrant shopping district at West Beach, Upper Burnie and Cooee. They have unusual wares for sale, beautiful hand-painted artsy beads, clothes and craft you won’t find elsewhere. The boat departs at 3:00pm and you’ll have three days including Shabbat to enjoy the amazingness that is the Jewel, the best Glatt Kosher meals anywhere, the spa and gym facilities, shopping, drinking Starbuck’s coffee (yes, it has a Starbuck’s down on the Broadway deck), going to shows, lectures, meeting with new and old friends and breathing in the pure ocean air as you sit on the deck to meditate or read.
Sunday morning you arrive in Napier, New Zealand – pure and remote, filled with mountains, hills and blue sparkling waters. Napier is the perfect place to find peace and for communing with nature. There are kayaking and hiking shore excursions led by the warmest people. You can go see Shine Falls and the National Aquarium, visit Faraday Centre which is a specialty museum and is amazing fun for everyone. With breakfast on board, you will return for an early lunch that is waiting for you. If you wait until departure at 4:00pm, Kosherica’s lunch box of plenty will keep you strong.
The next day is Monday and you wake to see Tauranga, New Zealand. It sits on the Bay of Plenty and boasts a sunny, temperate climate, has a thriving economy and is the kiwi growing capital of New Zealand. You’ll find white sandy beaches, and an excursion through this abundant paradise of the Bay of Plenty will show you volcanic wonders, geothermal delights, the McLaren Falls, kiwi orchard tours, the bluest waters and very warm people, both Maori and European in descent.
Tuesday at 8:00am the ship docks at Bay of Islands. I’m just thinking how amazing it is that observant Jews who eat Glatt kosher, Chalav Yisrael can travel so far, to the most exotic places on earth! And do it in high style!
Here we are at Bay of Islands and you find yourself in the heart of Maori culture. Smiling, laughing happy people who commune with nature and the earth, like Aborigines elsewhere. Kayaking, deep-sea diving and snorkeling will satisfy the thrill-seeker and the love of beauty within us. There’s an abundance of dolphins, penguins, marlins, whales and more. It will take wild horses to drag me away from there – I’ll go have my luscious, Glatt kosher meals on the ship, and as soon as the food settles I’ll be in pursuit of wild dolphins or meeting traditional Mauris in their environment.
5:00pm the ship leaves and finally Wednesday, it arrives in Oakland, New Zealand, only to disembark at 7:00am after a wonderful experience that is sure to last a lifetime!