Booking the Premium Plus Lounge in addition to your fare on the Interislander Ferry adds a certain business class vibe if that’s what you’re after. I’m on the Kaitaki, one of the ferries that ply the waters of the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The last time I did this crossing, 14 years ago, I spent much of the three-hourish journey holed up in the cinema watching a latest release. Refurbished in 2013, the cinema is still there, alongside several eateries, as well as a wonderful glass atrium that doubles as a viewing area, but be warned, the few seats go quickly. This time I am booked in to the Kaitaki Plus Lounge that offers respite from the crowds, meals (breakfast and morning tea) and drinks etc. It’s a few days before Christmas and Kiwis and tourists are on the move, so I’m glad I have the option to cocoon myself in the relative quiet of the Lounge. It’s here as we start cruising through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds that I hear the announcement, “scones are now being served.” Not expecting much from the scones in the Lounge as they are cut in half and sitting in the warmth of a bain marie, I give them a shot anyway. The plain scones are better than average and if not having to sit; undignified and rather unappealingly, aren’t half bad. The cream is fresh and thickly whipped and you can help yourself to as much as you like. Even the portion-controlled jam isn’t that bad, but still, I’d prefer it served in a dish. Scones are also served in the cafes on the ferry, just so the folk in cattle class can partake in this lovely British tradition.
Tea: In the Kaitaki Plus Lounge there are a selection of tea bags and self-serve tea.
Overall: Upgrade to the Kaitaki Plus lounge if you want to steer clear of the madding crowds.
Location: Wellington Ferry Terminal, 1 Aotea Quay, Wellington 6011 Ph: +64 800 802 802
Reviewed in December, 2014