Azure Atolls To Auckland/Riviera
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Riviera

Azure Atolls To Auckland - 17 night cruise



Cruise only from €6,445

Price based on lowest available cruise only fare for double occupancy. Subject to change at any time.


Description

Highlights

Gratuities

Dates and Prices

Cabins

Sister ship to Marina, stunning Riviera was designed to be special in so many ways and reflects a new level of grace and elegance through designer touches, upholstery and fabrics throughout. She features multiple gourmet restaurants and along with Marina, offers unforgettable food and wine pairings at La Reserve by Wine Spectator as well as the opportunity for private dining at opulent Privée. From the Lalique Grand Staircase to the Owner's Suites furnished in Ralph Lauren Home, designer touches that create a casually elegant atmosphere are everywhere. Riviera's refined ambiance truly embodies the unparalleled Oceania Cruises experience.

Riviera blends sophistication with a contemporary flair to create a casually elegant ambiance. From the sparkling Lalique Grand Staircase to the stunning Owner's Suites furnished with Ralph Lauren Home, designer touches are everywhere, highlighting the finest residential design and furnishings. More than anything, Riviera personifies the Oceania Cruises experience.

Cruise ID: 28662

Artist Loft: For budding artists, there is the Artist Loft enrichment centre, where talented artists-in-residence offer step-by-step instruction. Under their watchful eye, you may paint with oils or watercolours, sketch or create collages. The courses change continually and are designed with every level in mind, so everyone from beginners to seasoned professionals will find the classes engaging and enriching. With the masters' guidance, your talents will quickly blossom.

How much you choose to tip is a personal matter and completely at your discretion. For your convenience, the following gratuities are automatically added to your shipboard account.

For guests occupying staterooms, gratuities of $16.00 per guest, per day will be added.

For guests occupying Penthouse, Oceania, Vista or Owner's Suites where Butler Service is provided, gratuities of $23.00 per guest, per day will be added.

In addition, an 18% service gratuity is automatically added to all beverage purchases, spa services and dinner at La Reserve. Naturally, guests may adjust gratuities while on board the vessel at their sole discretion.

Date Time Price * Booking
07 January 2026 05:00 €6,445 Call us to book

* Price based on lowest available cruise only fare for double occupancy. Subject to change at any time.

Cabins on Riviera

Deluxe Ocean View Staterooms
2

Highlighting floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, our thoroughly renewed Deluxe Oceanview Staterooms deliver 240 square feet of sybaritic bliss. With curtains drawn open, natural light bathes the plush Tranquility Bed, convivial seating area, vanity desk, breakfast table and refrigerated mini-bar with a rich glow. Luxury also permeates the marble- and granite-clad bathroom, which features an expanded walk-in shower.

Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom Amenities

Complimentary soft drinks replenished daily in your refrigerated mini-bar

  • Complimentary still & sparkling Vero Water
  • Complimentary room service menu 24 hours a day
  • Tranquility Bed, an Oceania Cruises Exclusive
  • Bulgari amenities
  • Twice-daily maid service
  • Category (C1) includes accessibility features in stateroom 7064 and 7067.
  • Interactive television system with on-demand movies, weather and more
  • Wireless Internet access and cellular service
  • Writing desk and stationery
  • Plush cotton towels, robes and slippers
  • Handheld hair dryer
  • Security safe
  • Belgian chocolates with turndown service

Deluxe Oceanview Accessibility Features:

  • Available in staterooms #7082 and #7085
  • Bed with hoist space
  • Large bathroom door
  • Toilet grab rails
  • Roll in bathrooms with no lip riser which has a wraparound drainage system

Smoking in suites, staterooms and on verandas is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk

Inside Stateroom
2

Our Inside Staterooms feature 174 square feet of refined elegance and idyllic solace. Freshly reimagined with stylish new furnishings and a restful palette, these sanctuaries feature thoughtful amenities such as a vanity desk, breakfast table, refrigerated mini-bar and a tony European stone-enveloped bathroom with a shower.

Inside Stateroom Amenities:

  • Complimentary soft drinks replenished daily in your refrigerated mini-bar

  • Complimentary still & sparkling Vero Water
  • Complimentary room service menu 24 hours a day
  • Tranquility Bed, an Oceania Cruises Exclusive
  • Bulgari amenities
  • Twice-daily maid service
  • Interactive television system with on-demand movies, weather and more
  • Wireless Internet access and cellular service
  • Writing desk and stationery
  • Plush cotton towels, robes and slippers
  • Handheld hair dryer
  • Security safe
  • Belgian chocolates with turndown service

Smoking in suites, staterooms and on verandas is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk

Owner's Suite
1-2

Akin to a dramatic coastal villa, the Owner's Suites exude a sophisticated and luxurious personality. At more than 2,000 square feet, each features a living room, dining room, master bedroom and two bathrooms. These suites are adorned with designer furnishings and exquisite appointments, creating a blissful enclave at sea. There are separate terraces for the living areas and bedroom and expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows provide captivating vistas and with the stunning backdrop of the sea all around. All of our suites include exclusive 24-hour Butler service and are uncommonly spacious, further adding to the unparalleled suite experience.

Owner's Suite Privileges

In addition to Stateroom Amenities

  • Complimentary laundry service – up to 3 bags per stateroom+
  • Priority 11 am ship embarkation with priority luggage delivery
  • Exclusive card-only access to private Executive Lounge staffed by a dedicated Concierge featuring complimentary soft drinks, coffees and snacks throughout the day
  • 24-hour Butler service
  • Complimentary in-suite bar setup with 6 full-size bottles of premium spirits and wines from our suite beverage menu
  • Complimentary welcome bottle of Champagne
  • Fresh fruit basket replenished daily
  • Priority online specialty restaurant reservations
  • Unlimited access to Aquamar Spa Terrace
  • iPad® upon request for your enjoyment on board
  • Optional private in-suite embarkation day lunch from noon to 2 pm in Owner's Suites
  • Customised entertainment system
  • Bulgari gift set and variety of amenities
  • Choice of daily printed newspaper
  • Complimentary Oceania Cruises logo tote bag and personalised stationery
  • Cashmere lap blankets
  • Choice of pillow from a luxurious selection
  • Complimentary shoeshine service
  • Complimentary pressing of garments upon embarkation++
+Up to 20 garments per laundry bag; additional restrictions apply.
++Certain limitations apply.

Smoking in suites, staterooms and on verandas is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Whirlpool Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • Butler Service
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Pillow Menu Available
  • Desk
  • Dining Area
  • Vanity Area
  • Full Bar
  • Telephone

Vista Suite
1-2

Given their lavish interior design that resembles an elegant and luxurious Park Avenue home along with their premier location overlooking the bow of the ship, the eight Vista Suites are in high demand. These 1,200- to 1,500-square-foot suites include access to the exclusive Executive Lounge as well as every imaginable amenity, such as a large walk-in closet, king-size bed, second bathroom for guests, indoor and outdoor whirlpool spas and your own private fitness room.

Vista Suite Privileges

In addition to Stateroom Amenities

  • Complimentary laundry service – up to 3 bags per stateroom+
  • Priority 11 am ship embarkation with priority luggage delivery
  • Exclusive card-only access to private Executive Lounge staffed by a dedicated Concierge featuring complimentary soft drinks, coffees and snacks throughout the day
  • 24-hour Butler service
  • Complimentary in-suite bar setup with 6 full-size bottles of premium spirits and wines from our suite beverage menu
  • Complimentary welcome bottle of Champagne
  • Fresh fruit basket replenished daily
  • Priority online specialty restaurant reservations
  • Unlimited access to Aquamar Spa Terrace
  • iPad® upon request for your enjoyment on board
  • Customized entertainment system
  • Bulgari gift set and variety of amenities
  • Choice of daily printed newspaper
  • Complimentary Oceania Cruises logo tote bag and personalized stationery
  • Cashmere lap blankets
  • Choice of pillow from a luxurious selection
  • Complimentary shoeshine service
  • Complimentary pressing of garments upon embarkation++
  • +Up to 20 garments per laundry bag; additional restrictions apply.
  • ++Certain limitations apply.
Smoking in suites, staterooms and on verandas is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Whirlpool Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • Butler Service
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk
  • Dining Area
  • Vanity Area
  • Full Bar
  • Pillow Menu Available
  • Telephone

Oceania Suite
1-2

Featuring a luxurious residential design and stylish furnishings, each of the twelve Oceania Suites offers more than 1,000 square feet of luxury. These stylish suites offer a living room, dining room, fully equipped media room, large walk-in closet, king-size bed, whirlpool spa, expansive private veranda and a second bathroom for guests. Also included is access to the private Executive Lounge with magazines, daily newspapers, beverages and snacks.

In addition to Suite & Stateroom Amenities

  • Free laundry service – up to 3 bags per stateroom+
  • Priority 11 am ship embarkation with priority luggage delivery
  • Exclusive card-only access to private Executive Lounge staffed by a dedicated Concierge, featuring complimentary soft drinks, coffees and snacks throughout the day
  • 24-hour Butler service
  • Complimentary in-suite bar setup with 6 full-size bottles of premium spirits and wines from our suite beverage menu
  • Fresh fruit basket replenished daily
  • Priority online specialty restaurant reservations
  • Unlimited access to the Aquamar Spa Terrace
  • Complimentary iPad®
  • Customized entertainment system
  • Bulgari gift set and variety of amenities
  • Choice of daily printed newspaper
  • Complimentary Oceania Cruises logo tote bagand personalized stationary
  • Cashmere lap blankets
  • Choice of pillow from a luxurious selection
  • Complimentary shoe shine service
  • Complimentary pressing of garments upon embarkation++

+Up to 20 garments per laundry bag. 3 day turnaround time and laundry will not be accepted 3 days prior to disembarkation.

++Certain limitations apply

Smoking in suites, staterooms and on verandas is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Whirlpool Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • Butler Service
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk

Penthouse Suite
1-2

The Penthouse Suites are a marvel of harmonious decor and lavish finishes, encompassing an expansive 440 square feet. Enhanced features include custom lighting, a dining table, separate seating area, walk-in closet, private teak veranda and a marble-clad bathroom with newly added storage space and an expanded shower, all ingeniously laid out to amplify contentment. Naturally, enjoy the ministrations of a dedicated Concierge and exclusive access to the amenities of the elite Executive Lounge.

In addition to Suite & Stateroom Amenities

  • Free laundry service – up to 3 bags per stateroom+
  • Priority Noon ship embarkation with priority luggage delivery
  • Exclusive card-only access to private Executive Lounge staffed by a dedicated Concierge featuring complimentary soft drinks, coffees and snacks throughout the day
  • 24-hour Butler service
  • Complimentary welcome bottle of Champagne
  • Priority online specialty restaurant reservations
  • Unlimited access to the Aquamar Spa Terrace
  • iPad® upon request
  • Bulgari gift set++ and a variety of amenities
  • Customized entertainment system
  • Cashmere lap blankets
  • Complimentary shoe shine service
  • Complimentary pressing of garments upon embarkation++

+Up to 20 garments per laundry bag. 3 day turnaround time and laundry will not be accepted 3 days prior to disembarkation.

++Certain limitations apply

Smoking in suites, staterooms and on verandas is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • Butler Service
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk

Veranda Stateroom
1-2

Our coveted 291-square-foot Veranda Staterooms, among the most generous at sea, have been imbued with sumptuous new furnishings in calming hues to create the ultimate sanctuary. There is ample room for leisurely pursuits, including a furnished private teak veranda. Indulgent amenities are plentiful, such as dazzling new lighting, an inviting seating area, refrigerated mini-bar, generous closet and a marble- and granite-sheathed bathroom showcasing new additional storage and an expanded walk-in shower.

Tranquility Bed, an Oceania Cruises exclusive, with 1,000-thread-count linens

  • Complimentary still & sparkling Vero Water
  • Private teak veranda
  • Bulgari amenities
  • Room service menu 24 hours a day
  • Twice-daily maid service
  • Belgian chocolates with turndown service
  • Interactive television system with on-demand movies, weather and more
  • Wireless Internet access and cellular service
  • Writing desk and stationery
  • Plush cotton towels
  • Thick cotton robes and slippers
  • Handheld hair dryer
  • Security safe
  • Complimentary soft drinks replenished daily in your refrigerated mini-bar

Smoking in suites, staterooms and on verandas is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk

Concierge Level Veranda Stateroom
1-2

With nary a detail left untouched, our refreshed Concierge Level Veranda Staterooms boast an extravagant new Continental style throughout. These 291-square-foot retreats offer enticing amenities also found in our Penthouse Suites, such as a private teak veranda, gracious seating area, refrigerated mini-bar and an oversized bathroom featuring new storage space and an enlarged walk-in shower. In the private Concierge Lounge, relish the services of a dedicated Concierge and partake in an alluring array of beverages, daily treats and a selection of global newspapers and thought-provoking magazines.

In addition to Suite & Stateroom Amenities

  • Expanded lunch and dinner room service menu from The Grand Dining Room
  • Free laundry service – up to 3 bags per stateroom+
  • Priority Noon ship embarkation
  • Exclusive card-only access to private Concierge Lounge staffed by a dedicated Concierge featuring complimentary soft drinks, coffees and snacks throughout the day
  • Complimentary welcome bottle of Champagne
  • Priority online specialty restaurant reservations
  • Unlimited access to the Aquamar Spa Terrace
  • iPad® upon request for your enjoyment on board++
  • Variety of Bulgari amenities
  • Complimentary Oceania Cruises logo tote bag
  • Cashmere lap blankets, perfect for relaxing on your veranda
  • Complimentary pressing of garments upon embarkation+++
  • Complimentary shoe shine service

+Up to 20 garments per laundry bag. 3 day turnaround time and laundry will not be accepted 3 days prior to disembarkation.

++Limited availability

+++Certain limitations apply

Smoking in suites, staterooms and on verandas is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk

View Itinerary By Date



Day 1 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Papeete will be your gateway to the tropical paradise of French Polynesia, where islands fringed with gorgeous beaches and turquoise ocean await to soothe the soul. This spirited city is the capital of French Polynesia, and serves as a superb base for onward exploration of Tahiti – an island of breathtaking landscapes and oceanic vistas. Wonderful lagoons of crisp, clear water beg to be snorkelled, stunning black beaches and blowholes pay tribute to the island's volcanic heritage, and lush green mountains beckon you inland on adventures, as you explore extraordinary Tahiti. Visit to relax inside picturesque stilted huts, which stand out over shimmering water, as you settle into the intoxicating rhythm of life, in this Polynesian paradise.

Day 2 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Papeete will be your gateway to the tropical paradise of French Polynesia, where islands fringed with gorgeous beaches and turquoise ocean await to soothe the soul. This spirited city is the capital of French Polynesia, and serves as a superb base for onward exploration of Tahiti – an island of breathtaking landscapes and oceanic vistas. Wonderful lagoons of crisp, clear water beg to be snorkelled, stunning black beaches and blowholes pay tribute to the island's volcanic heritage, and lush green mountains beckon you inland on adventures, as you explore extraordinary Tahiti. Visit to relax inside picturesque stilted huts, which stand out over shimmering water, as you settle into the intoxicating rhythm of life, in this Polynesian paradise.

Day 3 Moorea, French Polynesia

Mo'orea is one of the Society Islands of the French Polynesia. Located in the South Pacific, it is considered a magical island thanks to its majestic volcanic mountains, set against warm lagoon waters and green meadows. It is an island that attracts visitors of all abilities wanting to explore both above and below the ocean waters.

Day 4 Bora-Bora, French Polynesia

Simply saying the name Bora Bora is usually enough to induce gasps of jealousy, as images of milky blue water, sparkling white beaches and casually leaning palm trees immediately spring to mind. The imagination doesn't lie, either, and if you visit, you'll soon realise this island is every bit as gorgeous as you ever imagined. Thatched wooden huts stand out over shallow, sparkling seawater, with vivid fish swirling just below. Soak up the sun, scuba dive, or simply revel in the opulent luxury of one of the island's many magnificent resorts. If blissful inactivity doesn't appeal, then get active, and hike the greenery of the sharp Mount Pahia.

Day 5  Cruising

Day 6 Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Life is laid back on Rarotonga, the most populous of the Cook Islands, but the residents are still an active bunch. Though there are plenty of white sandy beaches on which to laze—and people do, with plenty of napping— locals love to get out and move. Join them in snorkeling, diving, riding—bikes, horses, scooters—fishing, bush walking, and playing squash and tennis. Another popular, if odd, and favorite activity is lining up along the sea wall adjacent to the airport's runway to be jetblasted.

Day 7  Cruising

Day 8 Alofi, Niue

Niue, or “The Rock” as it is known to its inhabitants, is one of the largest raised coral atolls in the Pacific, an island type named “Makatea” after an island in French Polynesia. Niue's coast lends itself to exploration with stops at points of historical and scenic interest including opportunities for snorkeling, exploring limestone caves, and swimming in Niue's crystal clear water.

Day 9 Pago Pago, American Samoa

American Samoa is a tropical paradise, located in the Pacific Ocean and home to some of the world's most unique flora and fauna. Pago Pago is the main harbour and village of Tutuila island. It is considered the capital of the territory and is the entry point for visitors exploring the picturesque volcanic islands.

Day 10  Cruising

Day 11 Apia, Samoa

Samoa is a group of ten islands located in the South Pacific. The tropical climate and volcanic landscape create a picturesque location for visitors to explore, together with the experience of Fa'a Samoa, the three thousand year old way of life on Samoa.

Day 12  Cruising

Day 13 Suva, Fiji

Fiji is a collection of tropical islands in the South Pacific and is well known for soft coral diving, white sandy beaches, and idyllic and peaceful surroundings. Because of its paradisiac surroundings, Fiji is a popular location for weddings and honeymoons. Suva is the capital of the Fiji archipelago, located on the southeastern coast of the island of Viti Levu and is the second most populated city of Fiji.

Day 14  Cruising

Day 15 Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Nukualofa is the capital city of the Kingdom of Tonga, a group of islands in the South Pacific. The islands of Tonga are lined with coral reefs and white sand beaches, and are protected by picturesque lagoons and limestone cliffs. Tonga is also one of the very few places in the world where visitors have the opportunity to swim with whales in the tropical ocean waters.

Days 16-17  Cruising

Day 18 Bay of Islands, New Zealand

The Tasman Sea on the west and the Pacific Ocean on the east meet at thetop of North Island at Cape Reinga. No matter what route you take, you'll passfarms and forests, marvellous beaches, and great open spaces. The East Coast,up to the Bay of Islands, is Northland's most densely populated, often withrefugees from bigger cities—looking for a more relaxed life—clustered aroundbreathtaking beaches. The first decision on the drive north comes at the footof the Brynderwyn Hills. Turning left will take you up the West Coast throughareas once covered with forests and now used for either agricultural orhorticulture. Driving over "the Brynderwyns," as they are known,takes you to Whangarei, the only city in Northland. If you're in the mood for adiversion, you can slip to the beautiful coastline and take in Waipu Cove, anarea settled by Scots, and Laings Beach, where million-dollar homes sit next tosmall Kiwi beach houses.An hour's drive farther north is the Bay of Islands, known all over theworld for its beauty. There you will find lush forests, splendid beaches, andshimmering harbors. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed here in 1840 betweenMaoriand the British Crown, establishing the basis for the modern New Zealandstate. Every year on February 6, the extremely beautiful Waitangi Treaty Ground(the name means weeping waters) is the sight of a celebration of the treaty andprotests by Maori unhappy with it. Continuing north on the East Coast, theagricultural backbone of the region is even more evident and a series ofwinding loop roads off the main highway will take you to beaches that are bothbeautiful and isolated where you can swim, dive, picnic, or just laze. .The West Coast is even less populated, and the coastline is rugged andwindswept. In the Waipoua Forest, you will find some of New Zealand's oldestand largest kauri trees; the winding road will also take you past mangroveswamps. Crowning the region is the spiritually significant Cape Reinga, theheadland at the top of the vast stretch of 90 Mile Beach, where it's believedMaori souls depart after death. Today Maori make up roughly a quarter of thearea's population (compared with the national average of about 15%). The legendaryMaori navigator Kupe was said to have landed on the shores of Hokianga Harbour,where the first arrivals made their home. Many different wi (tribes) livedthroughout Northland, including Ngapuhi (the largest), Te Roroa, Ngati Wai,Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Ngaitakoto, Ngati Kahu, and Te Rarawa. Many Maoriherecan trace their ancestry to the earliest inhabitants

Day 19 Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is called the City of Sails, and visitors flying in will see why. On the East Coast is the Waitemata Harbour—a Maori word meaning sparkling waters—which is bordered by the Hauraki Gulf, an aquatic playground peppered with small islands where many Aucklanders can be found "mucking around in boats."Not surprisingly, Auckland has some 70,000 boats. About one in four households in Auckland has a seacraft of some kind, and there are 102 beaches within an hour's drive; during the week many are quite empty. Even the airport is by the water; it borders the Manukau Harbour, which also takes its name from the Maori language and means solitary bird.According to Maori tradition, the Auckland isthmus was originally peopled by a race of giants and fairy folk. When Europeans arrived in the early 19th century, however, the Ngati-Whatua tribe was firmly in control of the region. The British began negotiations with the Ngati-Whatua in 1840 to purchase the isthmus and establish the colony's first capital. In September of that year the British flag was hoisted to mark the township's foundation, and Auckland remained the capital until 1865, when the seat of government was moved to Wellington. Aucklanders expected to suffer from the shift; it hurt their pride but not their pockets. As the terminal for the South Sea shipping routes, Auckland was already an established commercial center. Since then the urban sprawl has made this city of approximately 1.3 million people one of the world's largest geographically.A couple of days in the city will reveal just how developed and sophisticated Auckland is—the Mercer City Survey 2012 saw it ranked as the third-highest city for quality of life—though those seeking a New York in the South Pacific will be disappointed. Auckland is more get-up and go-outside than get-dressed-up and go-out. That said, most shops are open daily, central bars and a few nightclubs buzz well into the wee hours, especially Thursday through Saturday, and a mix of Maori, Pacific people, Asians, and Europeans contributes to the cultural milieu. Auckland has the world's largest single population of Pacific Islanders living outside their home countries, though many of them live outside the central parts of the city and in Manukau to the south. The Samoan language is the second most spoken in New Zealand. Most Pacific people came to New Zealand seeking a better life. When the plentiful, low-skilled work that attracted them dried up, the dream soured, and the population has suffered with poor health and education. Luckily, policies are now addressing that, and change is slowly coming. The Pacifica Festival in March is the region's biggest cultural event, attracting thousands to Western Springs. The annual Pacific Island Secondary Schools' Competition, also in March, sees young Pacific Islander and Asian students compete in traditional dance, drumming, and singing. This event is open to the public.At the geographical center of Auckland city is the 1,082-foot Sky Tower, a convenient landmark for those exploring on foot and some say a visible sign of the city's naked aspiration. It has earned nicknames like the Needle and the Big Penis—a counterpoint to a poem by acclaimed New Zealand poet James K. Baxter, which refers to Rangitoto Island as a clitoris in the harbor.The Waitemata Harbour has become better known since New Zealand staged its first defense of the America's Cup in 2000 and the successful Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in early 2009. The first regatta saw major redevelopment of the waterfront. The area, where many of the city's most popular bars, cafés, and restaurants are located, is now known as Viaduct Basin or, more commonly, the Viaduct. A recent expansion has created another area, Wynyard Quarter, which is slowly adding restaurants.These days, Auckland is still considered too bold and brash for its own good by many Kiwis who live "south of the Bombay Hills," the geographical divide between Auckland and the rest of New Zealand (barring Northland). "Jafa," an acronym for "just another f—ing Aucklander," has entered the local lexicon; there's even a book out called Way of the Jafa: A Guide to Surviving Auckland and Aucklanders. A common complaint is that Auckland absorbs the wealth from the hard work of the rest of the country. Most Aucklanders, on the other hand, still try to shrug and see it as the parochial envy of those who live in small towns. But these internal identity squabbles aren't your problem. You can enjoy a well-made coffee in almost any café, or take a walk on a beach—knowing that within 30 minutes' driving time you could be cruising the spectacular harbor, playing a round at a public golf course, or even walking in subtropical forest while listening to the song of a native tûî bird.

Day 20 Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is called the City of Sails, and visitors flying in will see why. On the East Coast is the Waitemata Harbour—a Maori word meaning sparkling waters—which is bordered by the Hauraki Gulf, an aquatic playground peppered with small islands where many Aucklanders can be found "mucking around in boats."Not surprisingly, Auckland has some 70,000 boats. About one in four households in Auckland has a seacraft of some kind, and there are 102 beaches within an hour's drive; during the week many are quite empty. Even the airport is by the water; it borders the Manukau Harbour, which also takes its name from the Maori language and means solitary bird.According to Maori tradition, the Auckland isthmus was originally peopled by a race of giants and fairy folk. When Europeans arrived in the early 19th century, however, the Ngati-Whatua tribe was firmly in control of the region. The British began negotiations with the Ngati-Whatua in 1840 to purchase the isthmus and establish the colony's first capital. In September of that year the British flag was hoisted to mark the township's foundation, and Auckland remained the capital until 1865, when the seat of government was moved to Wellington. Aucklanders expected to suffer from the shift; it hurt their pride but not their pockets. As the terminal for the South Sea shipping routes, Auckland was already an established commercial center. Since then the urban sprawl has made this city of approximately 1.3 million people one of the world's largest geographically.A couple of days in the city will reveal just how developed and sophisticated Auckland is—the Mercer City Survey 2012 saw it ranked as the third-highest city for quality of life—though those seeking a New York in the South Pacific will be disappointed. Auckland is more get-up and go-outside than get-dressed-up and go-out. That said, most shops are open daily, central bars and a few nightclubs buzz well into the wee hours, especially Thursday through Saturday, and a mix of Maori, Pacific people, Asians, and Europeans contributes to the cultural milieu. Auckland has the world's largest single population of Pacific Islanders living outside their home countries, though many of them live outside the central parts of the city and in Manukau to the south. The Samoan language is the second most spoken in New Zealand. Most Pacific people came to New Zealand seeking a better life. When the plentiful, low-skilled work that attracted them dried up, the dream soured, and the population has suffered with poor health and education. Luckily, policies are now addressing that, and change is slowly coming. The Pacifica Festival in March is the region's biggest cultural event, attracting thousands to Western Springs. The annual Pacific Island Secondary Schools' Competition, also in March, sees young Pacific Islander and Asian students compete in traditional dance, drumming, and singing. This event is open to the public.At the geographical center of Auckland city is the 1,082-foot Sky Tower, a convenient landmark for those exploring on foot and some say a visible sign of the city's naked aspiration. It has earned nicknames like the Needle and the Big Penis—a counterpoint to a poem by acclaimed New Zealand poet James K. Baxter, which refers to Rangitoto Island as a clitoris in the harbor.The Waitemata Harbour has become better known since New Zealand staged its first defense of the America's Cup in 2000 and the successful Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in early 2009. The first regatta saw major redevelopment of the waterfront. The area, where many of the city's most popular bars, cafés, and restaurants are located, is now known as Viaduct Basin or, more commonly, the Viaduct. A recent expansion has created another area, Wynyard Quarter, which is slowly adding restaurants.These days, Auckland is still considered too bold and brash for its own good by many Kiwis who live "south of the Bombay Hills," the geographical divide between Auckland and the rest of New Zealand (barring Northland). "Jafa," an acronym for "just another f—ing Aucklander," has entered the local lexicon; there's even a book out called Way of the Jafa: A Guide to Surviving Auckland and Aucklanders. A common complaint is that Auckland absorbs the wealth from the hard work of the rest of the country. Most Aucklanders, on the other hand, still try to shrug and see it as the parochial envy of those who live in small towns. But these internal identity squabbles aren't your problem. You can enjoy a well-made coffee in almost any café, or take a walk on a beach—knowing that within 30 minutes' driving time you could be cruising the spectacular harbor, playing a round at a public golf course, or even walking in subtropical forest while listening to the song of a native tûî bird.

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