The 'Island Passage' is our beautifully appointed small ship. Her workboat exterior camouflages a stunning interior. Weighing in at almost 500 tonnes, she's equipped to travel to inaccessible areas while delivering the highest level of passenger comfort. Built by Challenge Marine, one of New Zealand's best ship builders in Nelson in 2007 the 'Island Passage' is twin hulled catamaran that is 42 metres (138 Ft) in length, a huge beam of 12.8 metres 42 ft) and a draft of just 2 metres (6.5 ft) allowing access to may bays and inlets that most of the larger ships could not navigate into.
When the ship was designed, the instructions were to provide a luxurious layout, uncrowded and comfortable for a maximum of 24 guests. This has been well achieved. On board you'll find 11 spacious oversized en-suite cabins accommodating just 22 passengers, a large dining room and saloon lounge and generous outdoor living spaces. You will encounter the spacious saloon and dining area on the promenade deck, a large aft teak deck with steamers chairs, wide side teak decks for strolling the ship and an overwhelming feeling of being onboard a small private yacht. During each journey, our eight-person crew is on hand to share their knowledge of the ocean, people, history and the local landscapes.
The 11 spacious cabins all have rich timber panelling and Rose and Heather furniture most with doors opening to the outer deck. Each cabin is individually air-conditioned with its own large private en-suite. All cabins have flat screen TV's offering a large selection of movies, TV shows and an extensive music library.
Island Passage is equipped with a professional galley and a chef who's dedicated to making every meal magnificent. Local seafood (maybe even some you caught yourself) is often on the menu; you'll also enjoy other delicacies and organic artisan foods produced in the local region.
Breakfast and lunch are usually served on the aft deck, so that you won't miss a single minute of any of the beautiful scenery. In the evening you'll dine in style at one of the 12-seater tables. Conversation is invariably lively and lots of fun. Our on-board wine cellar is brimming with a selection of award-winning New Zealand wines.
Espresso coffee, juices, soft drinks and bottled water are all included in the cruise price.
You won't need to remember the recipe for your favourite aperitif; our bartender is well-versed in creating some of the South pacific's best cocktails. Evenings are a highlight of small ship cruising where the mood changes onboard to sunset cocktails, white linen dining and personal service as you enjoy our superb cuisine.
For entertainment and exploration, Island Passage carries purpose-built tenders (zodiacs are not used for our passengers) with easy access to them from the ship with front & side access ramps. Our expedition boats are designed to provide fast and efficient transport to and from the 'Island Passage' and are well suited for exploring the local bays, islands, and rivers that are right on your doorstep. All boats are manned with guides, two-way radios and safety equipment for your peace of mind. The ship also offers sea kayaks, a five-seat helicopter (New Zealand only), fishing and snorkelling equipment. Never a dull moment!
Life onboard the Island Passage is totally relaxed and with only 22 passengers you will get know your fellow passengers quickly and make lifelong friends from around the world. Dress is casual with shorts and t-shirts/golf shirts usually worn by men and comfortable and relaxed attire is all our lady guests need bring. Most of our guests go barefoot whilst onboard. We do suggest you bring sun screen, hats and reef walking shoes.
Beachcombing, picnics ashore, guided bush walks, kayaking and snorkelling are some of the daily activities that are available every day. We make the tenders available for your use whenever we are anchored. In New Zealand the helicopter (optional costs) is available for guests to take a stunning heli-sightseeing flight over many of the beautiful regions we cruise. Or, you may just choose to relax with a good book and laze on a steamer deck chair in the sun. You decide.
Our passion for fishing has inspired many guests to experience the thrill of catching that 'big one' and is included in your cruise price. We provide full bait and lures and more than 40 rod and reels using top-quality Shimano equipment. Our crewed fishing boats have a live bait tank, fish-finder, with GPS and VHF fitted. One fishing guide is allocated to each boat.
First time fishermen/women can enjoy the thrill of catching yellowtail kingfish, trevally, snapper, kahawai, tuna and hapuka, coral trout, wahoo and sailfish. Our sports fishing is always a highlight of any cruise. Our onboard 'fish smoker' is utilised by our chef and your success will make him very happy.
Cruising with Island Escape Cruises is an experience - not just a cruise.
You will visit areas rarely, if ever, visited by most cruise companies. You will experience regions that you have only read about and have a truly unique and intimate cruising experience. We ensure that we do all possible to exceed your expectations.