Island Passage

Island Escape - Luxury Expedition Cruise Ship
The 42 metre (140 feet) 'Island Passage' is unique in that other vessels of her size carry more than double the 20 passengers that she can accommodate. This gives passengers much more room to relax.
Island Escape wants to make your stay as comfortable as possible onboard the 'Island Passage'. So if you have any special request for an item or service that is not immediately available, they will do everything within their means to get it for you.
  • Length Overall (LOA): 42.0 metres (138 feet)
  • Displacement: 336 tonne
  • Beam: 12.8 metres (39 feet)
  • Gross Tonnage: 496 tonne
  • Length at Waterline: 39.6 metres (130 feet)
  • Range: 5500 nautical miles at 6 knots
  • Draft: 2.0 metres (7 feet)
  • Construction: Steel plate and Aluminium
  • Engines: 2x Kelvin Marine TASC8
  • Gear Boxes: 2x Reintjes WAF440
  • Propellers: 2x Four-blade bronze
  • Speed: 8-10 knots passage making 10-12 knots cruising speed
Bridge Deck Suites
Suites : 20 sqm (215 sq ft)
Space and luxury on the private Bridge deck. The Captain’s cabin is on this level. These suites have doors opening directly to the teak bridge deck and on the same level as the helicopter and boat deck. Individually air-conditioned, TV, DVD/CD, movies on demand, SKY TV is available, writing desk, easy chair, extra large en-suite and a super king sized bed. These suites offer the very best views on the ship from extra large windows and they are always in high demand.
Stateroom : 16 sqm (172 sq ft)
Situated on the Promenade deck and featuring large picture windows and doors opening directly onto the promenade teak deck. Spacious en-suites, individual air-conditioning, TV, DVD/CD, movies, writing desk and either queen or twin single beds. One is designed to cater for any wheelchair passengers with access shower and toilet. All are on the same level as the main saloon, bar, dining room and outside entertainment aft deck.
Owners Stateroom : 18 sqm (194 sq ft)
Relax in this spacious and luxurious stateroom, complete with sitting area and doors that open directly onto the promenade teak deck. Spacious en-suite, individually air-conditioned, TV, DVD/CD, movies, writing desk, armchair and a queen sized bed. Large picture windows offer tremendous views to the outside scenery. Available when owner is not onboard.
Expedition Cabins
Triple 18 sqm (194 sq ft), Twin 14 sqm (150 sq ft)
These unique cabins have either a queen sized bed or two single twins (singles have a pullman berth for a third guest), two large portholes offering views over the sea, individual air-conditioning, TV, DVD/CD, movies and large private en-suites.
Expedition cabin - triple berth is a large and very spacious cabin with 3 single beds. This can also be made up as a King and single as required.
Moving guests to the various activities and locations, safely and at the right time, is critical on Inside Passage expeditions. This would be very difficult without their helicopter, several custom built landing craft and sport tenders boats and the support of the Mother-ship.
An AS355 F1 SQUIRREL, is a twin-engine machine with seating for 5 passengers plus one pilot. External mounted cargo pods carry baggage, outboard motors, tramping gear and all related equipment to various locations. Take flights to local vineyards, golf courses, a spot of heli-fishing or a flight to any of the numerous scenic delights along our route.
The onboard winch system allows heavier loads (including boats) to be readily positioned to remote locations. Fuel tanks onboard the mother-ship allow extended operations. Other features include a deluxe leather interior, onboard telephone plus a two-pilot option.
  • Model: EUROCOPTER AS355F1
  • Crew: 1-2 pilots
  • Passengers: 4-5 seats
  • Max speed: 140 knots
  • Cruise speed: 125 knots
  • Range: 3:15 hours
The custom landing craft and sport tenders were manufactured in New Zealand and especially designed for these operations with joint input from Island Escape Cruises to suit the conditions.
  • 1 x Landing Craft (7.1 meter/23 feet) - Aluminium construction with centre console layout, side and front opening doors for ease of access from the ship's boarding platforms. Seating for up to 8 passengers and powered by a single 200hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboard. Live bait tank, fish-finder, GPS and VHF fitted.
  • 2 x Fully Equipped Sport Boats (7.1 meter/23 feet) - Aluminium construction with centre console and weather canopy layout. Seating for up to 6 passengers. Powered by single 200 hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboard. Live bait tanks, fish-finder, GPS and VHF fitted.
  • 1 x SOLAS Rescue Boat (4.25 meter / 14 feet) - Aluminium construction and built to survey for rescue purposes. Unsinkable and powered by a single 25 hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboard. Includes Full Rescue Kit, Lifting Lug, Grab Rope and Handrails (underside also) and Approved for class 3 vessels under the M&I certification.
  • 1 x Multi-Purpose Tender (4.2 meter/14 feet) - Aluminium construction as an open tender boat. Powered by a 15 hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboard this multi-purpose tender carries 4 passengers.
Geographic Expeditions
New Zealand Geographic and Island Escape Expeditions have formed an alliance to offer luxury geographic expeditions within New Zealand and Vanuatu.
Island Escape Cruises and New Zealand Geographic share a passion for adventure, discovery, and conservation. The alliance allows them to pool extensive resources and provide extraordinary small ship voyages to some of the most remote and fascinating regions around New Zealand and Vanuatu.
New Zealand Geographic magazine celebrates New Zealand and its diversity – its people, places and wildlife. For two decades it has been the definitive journal of record for New Zealand, bringing its readers stories from the deepest oceans to the stars above their heads and all the locations and cultures in between.
The "Island Passage" is a small, but robust, 500-ton ship travelling to inaccessible areas without sacrificing comfort. The ship features 10 individually designed en-suite cabins, a spacious dining room and saloon, a library and large outdoor spaces. The chef creates delicious meals that reflect the cuisine of the places visited using fresh, local, and organic ingredients. On board “Island Passage” you'll find purpose built landing craft, three large tenders, sea kayaks, a 5-seater helicopter and snorkelling gear.
The ship has a professional crew of 8 on geographic expeditions who share their knowledge and insights with travellers and bring each destination to life. A New Zealand Geographic scientist, historian, photographer, or explorer will join you on select trips.
Through this alliance, Island Escape Cruises actively supports New Zealand Geographic's ongoing research and exploration projects around the region. The organisations jointly support the "New Zealand Geographic Trust" with funding for research and conservation in the areas explored together.
Relaxation, exceptional food and fine wine are an essential part of your expedition. Fresh air not only clears your mind, it makes you hungry
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 food produced in the local region. Breakfast and lunch are usually served on the aft deck, so that you won't miss a minute of beautiful scenery. In the evening you'll dine in style at one of the 10-seater tables. Conversation is invariably lively
The onboard wine cellar is brimming with award-winning wines and you won't need to remember the recipe for your favourite aperitif; the bartender is well-versed in the magic of mixology.
Island Escape Cruises
A message from Island Escape Cruises CEO, Peter Bisset...
Being born in Auckland and spending considerable amounts of my spare time cruising and fishing the Hauraki Gulf by yacht, I have over the years developed a real passion for this spectacular region, that covers 3,500,000 acres of pure natural paradise.
I lived in Tokyo for ten years while I was the owner and operator of an International Shipping Line. This period away from New Zealand only fed my passion further. Having been fortunate to travel many times to most corners of the world I believe the Hauraki Gulf is one of the most sensational snapshots of nature to be found anywhere. I eagerly looked forward to visiting my home country on business trips to enjoy brief encounters with the Gulf and rekindle my love of the region.
After retiring from the Shipping business in 2002 and returning to New Zealand I was presented with the opportunity of building a new business that would allow travellers from all corners of the world to experience this fantastic paradise. Three years in the planning took us to a stage where we were almost committed to building a luxury waterside lodge in the Gulf. However, the shortcomings of a stationery venue soon became obvious. With 3,500,000 acres to explore we needed mobility together with the ability to offer flexible and seasonal scheduling for our travellers.
A further two years later my daughter launched our purpose built 500-ton luxury expedition ship “Island Passage”. She is fitted with three levels of spacious accommodation and caters for only 24 guests, carries a professional crew of 8 together with specialized fishing and exploration guides.
For our travellers to fully experience the areas where we travel, we have onboard a twin-engine 6-seat helicopter, six tenders and kayaks for ventures away from the Mother-ship to intimately explore the magnificent scenery or to fish the rivers, bays, and channels.
We invite you to join our expeditions. Come along and relax, be pampered, be spoilt, be amazed!