It was time. The Milford Haven was due to undergo an engine replacement and we jumped at the chance to fully explore the customer experience on board our boat. How can we take this opportunity to go truly beyond now that we had a chance, we asked? After extensive customer research in Fiordland, we struggled to find a point of difference in the cruise market. Striving to provide something that put us firmly outside the box. We set to work.
The Haven project was big, in fact big is an understatement. It was a huge collaboration that started with months of research and ideas before taking her out of the water and to a new home in Bluff for a few months. Luke Taylor our GM and local designers brought in from various industries in Queenstown had a vision. Luke’s aim was to surprise our travellers and the initial concept was born from a desire to be different. Why offer just a cruise experience when you can offer something beyond that? They worked collectively on a vision to change the cruise experience in Milford Sound, they went beyond.
Let’s wind it back. Check her out before the refurbishment, right before we started ripping her out and taking those carpet walls as far away as possible. In initial concepts for a refurbishment engineering plans had allowed for bigger windows and a slight interior lift. We were about to invest countless man hours to provide bigger windows for those who wanted to sit inside. A passing comment from a cruising passenger went along the lines of ‘If I want bigger windows I will go outside’ that comment right there warranted enough of a push to create something spectacular within the original time frame.
So, we got to work. Brought in to assist in the refit were owners and designers of popular hangout, Yonder here in Queenstown. Emily and Gary Livesey both have engineering backgrounds and threw themselves into the job which intrigued and terrified them at the same time. If the designers had been boat engineers then boat-category furniture and boat materials would have been used, likening our Haven to other boats in the sound.
We went above and beyond the average looking boat interiors and created a space that can be enjoyed by all. Seats that face the windows, space to move freely around the vessel and a café style bar and restaurant space serving up delicious eats. The boat is now a perfect marriage of meticulous design, fine art style photography and outstanding service. To top it off a communal space on the top deck, complete with Astroturf, a large wooden bench seating which would provide those uninterrupted views.
Our soul aim was to create a space that people could relax and enjoy. The top deck boasts two levels, the wooden seating creates a communal space to be enjoyed by all and picnic style benches is the perfect place to enjoy lunch. The different levels of the seat mean that no view is obstructed and becomes a place multiple groups can chill out.
We strived to create a bespoke cruise experience that is paramount, one that will appeal and mirror the individual, unique needs of our travellers on board. The interiors are beyond industry standard, a luxe space that screams upmarket hangout, not generic cruise ship. The neon ‘Go Beyond’ sign greets you instantly as does impeccable artwork from local artists, Troy Tanner and Lisa Nicole–Moes.
The food menu was mastered by our friends at Canyon Food & Brew Co and Empanada Kitchen in Queenstown, we also have a selection of treats from Rehab on board, along with having an exclusive craft beer brewed especially for the Haven from Canyon Food and Brew Co. We ensure all are catered for by offering vegan and vegetarian options as well as a healthy range of smoothies and raw bars. Our staff are Barista trained and producing some of the finest coffees in Milford Sound.
Our aim was to make the whole experience more about just visiting Milford Sound. Listed as one of New Zealand’s hot spots and memorable places to visit we needed to create a whole experience that went above and beyond the average. Firmly cementing Go Oranges mantra Go Beyond and producing an unforgettable time for all who choose to visit.
Standing out from the crowd is our immediate focus by providing an excellent experience at every given opportunity. We aim to be leaders in the market ensuring everything on board was immaculately executed. We want you, our travellers, to join a team of front runners, of leaders or innovators appearing at the forefront of everyone’s minds as unsurpassable. The Milford Haven was a labour of love, hours of continued hard work from all parties involved, resulting in an epic product that everyone can be proud of.
Together we are a family of guides, travellers and experiences creating our own unique story. We invite you to Go beyond, that’s right. Join us and Go Beyond.