Milford Sound’s ‘beautiful old girl’ has been given a face lift.
The Milford Haven, which has delivered passengers the majestic sights of the region for nearly 50 years, received its first major refurbishment at the end of last year and so far the reaction to her new look has been overwhelmingly positive.
The refurbishment was undertaken after the ship’s owners Go Orange undertook extensive research into how to better their cruise experiences on Milford Sound.
The initial plan was to fit in larger windows on the ship, but according to Go Orange head of marketing Emma Hansen a better solution was found.
“Someone made the comment that if they wanted bigger windows they’d just go outside. So it was about finding what is beyond just having bigger windows. So for the same price as making windows bigger we were able to do a complete refurbishment of the inside.”
The company sourced Queenstown engineers Emily and Gary Livesey to help design the new look interior, which removed old generic carpeting and ‘boat style seating’ and replaced them with window facing leather seats, a new cafe style bar as well as a large wooden deck and AstroTurf on the top deck viewing platform.
The design also allowed for a private area for special tour groups, and contains a collection of local art work from local artists Troy Tanner and Lisa Nicole–Moes.
The Milford Haven during the refurbishment process at Bluff.
The food and menu on board had also been improved, with a special beer brewed exclusively for the ship by Canyon Food and Brew Co. Mrs Hansen said all the materials used for the refurbishment were sourced locally from Southland and surrounding areas.
“All of the fittings, chairs, booths are all sourced from a man in Invercargill. He made all of this custom for us. It is all leather from New Zealand… a lot of it was bespoke, custom done, made to fit the design and not just to fit the need.”
The ship was given a ‘soft launch’ during the busy summer season to allow passengers to discover the differences themselves and Mrs Hansen said she has been blown away by the feedback.
“So far it’s been great. We couldn’t have anticipated the feedback and the response. And it’s been really fun.”
This article was originally written for The Advocate. You can read the published version here