A new luxury-class boat launching in New Zealand’s stunning Milford Sound early next year promises to take cruising to whole new levels.
JUCY Cruise has invested millions of dollars in the new Gem of the Sound – an impressive 29m long, three-level vessel boasting expansive glass roofs, external and covered decks, and smart dining facilities.
The Gem of the Sound can easily accommodate up to 260 passengers and will operate three times daily, year-round.
In line with Tourism New Zealand strategies to grow the luxury market, it will feature a full international-standard buffet with new and exciting menu options, which diners will enjoy seated in comfortable booths in the light-filled dining area.
The vessel is currently undergoing a complete refit in Brisbane with the aim of enhancing the stunning Milford Sound environment.
Ranked as “the world’s most beautiful place”, the fjord’s legendary waterfalls, plunging from clifftops rising straight from the sea, are a sight to behold, especially following heavy rain.
The Gem of the Sound will be the only vessel in Milford Sound designed to make the most of those falls and spectacular scenery, with two large glass roofs enabling passengers to take in the views from the comfort of the two top decks, even while dining.
A front deck means passengers can still choose to enjoy some unique ‘Milford mist’ as the boat nudges under the falls, while other areas are perfect for spotting fur seals, penguins, dolphins or even the occasional Southern Right Whale.
JUCY Southern Lakes General Manager Kat van Dijk described the new Gem of the Sound as a “very impressive” vessel.
“She looks like an amazing luxury yacht, and at 29m long will certainly stand out when she sails into Milford from Brisbane for the first time,” she said.
“The introduction of this additional new vessel to our fleet has been in the pipeline for some time as part of our continued expansion of services and experiences across the Southern Lakes.
“Together with our overseas sales team we’ve spent plenty of time meeting overseas agents in India, South-East Asia and China who are crying out for something of this calibre in New Zealand, so we’re answering that call.
“Gem will offer an exceptional level of comfort, hospitality and an outstanding experience at a level never previously seen in Milford Sound.
“We have full confidence in continued growth in the luxury cruise market and Gem is testament to that.”
Gem will join JUCY Cruise catamaran Maiden of Milford in the fjord, which has been successfully operating at Milford Sound since October 2013. Cruise visitors to Milford are serviced by a fleet of JUCY coaches.
A new JUCY Snooze purpose-built hotel, consisting of ensuite and family rooms, dorm beds and single pods is on track to open in the Queenstown CBD in late 2017.