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Best Small Cruise: Doubtful Sound, New Zealand

As my wife and I planned our South Island road trip, the big debate was: should we do an

overnight cruise into Doubtful Sound on a 70-person, three-masted sailboat? We didn’t really think of ourselves as cruising types. Then we looked at pictures of Doubtful Sound, which seemed too stunning to be real: ridiculously lush forest clinging to sheer cliff walls, pods of dolphins, towering waterfalls. So we booked the trip with Real Journeys. While we did some unbelievably cool stuff while we were in New Zealand, including helicoptering into a swanky lodge in the Southern Alps, the defining moment came during a rainy afternoon on that boat. Temperatures were in the mid-forties, and we had just returned from a short sea-kayaking excursion, wet and cold. But when I saw a few of my fellow cruisers (who, it should be said, were mostly young and adventuresome) lining up to jump off the rear deck, I stripped down to my skivvies, climbed onto a platform, and launched into the scrotum-searingly cold water. And then I did it again. My wife looked at me like I’d lost my mind. And maybe I had, at least temporarily. From $310.—SAM MOULTON —Sam Moulton
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