Doubtful Sound


Once a year, at the start of each of our Milford and Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruises seasons, RealNZ dedicates its final training cruise as a fundraiser for a charitable or not-for-profit community organisation. RealNZ provides the vessels, crew, delicious dinner, breakfast and water activities - all at no cost.  All the organisation has to do is sell the tickets to its members and keep 100% of the proceeds. Cruise-for-a-Cause has raised almost $300,000 for conservation and community causes since it began in 2015.

Previous successful recipients of the RealNZ Cruise-for-a-Cause fundraising initiative are:

  • Outdoor Education, Fiordland (2021): More info
  • Fiordland Trails Trust (2020): More info
  • Wildlife Hospital, Dunedin (2019): More info
  • Baskets of Blessing (2019): More info
  • Wanaka Search and Rescue (2018): More info
  • KidsCan Charitable Trust (2018)
  • Cancer Society Southland and Otago Region (2017): More info
  • Forest & Bird (2016 & 2017): More info
  • Wakatipu High School Foundation (2016): More info
  • Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust (2015): More info
  • Queenstown Lakes Family Centre (2015): More info

Real Journeys 2019 Cruise-for-a-Cause raises funds for the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital

Why Cruise-for-a-Cause is an awesome way to raise funds

  • Sell in your sleep: our Milford & Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruises are internationally recognised, award-winning, iconic Fiordland experiences that are easy to sell.
  • Keep it all: all proceeds from your fundraising efforts are yours.
  • Bring your supporters together: Share this amazing experience and socialise with your supporters.
  • We can help: we know a fundraiser like this can sound daunting. So if you'd like us to, we can help collect the money for you, make reservations and give you advice on how to sell/price them.
  • Raise boatloads: your organisation/cause could raise a significant amount of money. So far our most successful cruises have raised up to: 
    • Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise – approx. $53,000.
    • Milford Sound Overnight Cruise – approx. $27,000.

About the vessels

Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

The Fiordland Navigator has 18 twin/double cabins with ensuite bathrooms and 9 quad-share bunk-style compartments with shared bathrooms.  Visit our Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruises page.

Milford Mariner, Milford Sound Overnight Cruise

The Milford Mariner has 28 private twin/double cabins with ensuite bathrooms and 2 ensuite family rooms with four bunk beds.  Visit our Milford Sound Overnight Cruises page. 

How Cruise-for-a-Cause works

Community based not-for-profit/charitable organisations are invited to apply for the Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise or Milford Sound Overnight Cruise for a fundraiser.

Stage 1: Application form

  • You will need to describe how this fundraiser will make a difference to your organisation - including the extent to which your organisation shows its ‘cause’ will enhance the areas of conservation, education, health or rescue.
  • Outline the ‘good cause’ or what the funds will be used for (this should be clearly explained). The funds are not intended for routine operational purposes.
  • Evidence that the organisation can market the event and make it a successful fundraiser.
  • Please note that you will need to have a plan to mitigate the possibility that your organisation may be selling tickets at the same time as RealNZ are running promotions.
  • Remember the purpose is to raise the maximum amount of money for your organisation, for a valuable purpose, using a unique entertainment idea that cannot be experienced on any other cruise.

Stage 2: Shortlisted applicants

If shortlisted, successful applicants must:

  • Provide a detailed marketing plan that demonstrates they have the organisational ability to market and sell the trips through their own channels

Stage 3: Successful applicants

  • You will be required to attend a briefing to discuss your marketing plan (which must be approved by RealNZ) and set an agreed price for the tickets.
  • Designate an event manager as the main contact for RealNZ
  • Your job is to publicise your fundraiser, contact people on your databases and sell your cruise as quickly as possible.  You must sell all your tickets 8 weeks prior to the sailing date.
  • RealNZ is happy to assist you by making the bookings, collecting payments, providing confirmations for the bookings and allocating the rooms.
  • RealNZ may do some publicity around the event and will also publicise the amount that was raised by your organisation. We may also help raise awareness of your charity and the cruises through our marketing and social media channels.
  • The marketing of the fundraiser and selling the tickets is the organisation's sole responsibility.
  • Once you have sold all your tickets you can relax, and RealNZ will do the rest. Just turn up at our Visitor Centre in either Milford Sound or Manapouri (for Doubtful Sound) and prepare to enjoy the largest untouched wilderness in New Zealand with a group of your favourite people!

Questions? Contact us:

For more information contact our media team by email on [email protected] 

Application form

Applications have now closed for the 2023 Cruise-for-a-Cause. The next round of applications for 2024 will open soon. 

Terms & Conditions

1.     Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for this fantastic opportunity you must be a NZ-based not-for-profit/charitable organisation.

2.     Selling/promotion

a.  The selected organisations must promote the Cruise-for-a-Cause directly to their members and friends.  The selected organisations cannot advertise their special cruise in any way that competes with RealNZ new season’s overnight cruises.

b.  Either the organisation OR RealNZ will collect all payments for passengers travelling on the Cruise-for-a-Cause and provide merchant services.  All payments made for the cruise directly to Real NZ will be provided to the organisation either within 20 working days of the cruise departure and/or from the date all documentation is submitted by the organisation.

c.  If the organisation raises any additional funds on the cruise, (e.g. via a silent auction) it agrees to notify RealNZ of the total amount raised for publicity purposes.

d. Successful applicants agree to cooperate with RealNZ management and marketing team in the publicity and promotion of their cruise. Any promotion must:

  • Carry the Cruise-for-a-Cause logo
  • Meet our standards
  • Be reviewed and approved by RealNZ before being published. 

e. Successful applicants agree to publish a minimum of one post per month on the organisation's social media accounts to promote the event and must tag RealNZ social media accounts in the posts @real.newzealand #realnz

f. The organisation agrees to write about their experience, provide at least 3 quotes from participants (provide full names), fill out a questionnaire and provide at least 5 photographs within 24 hours of the cruise. These may be used for a media release and marketing on the RealNZ website and social media platforms. The organisation also agrees to share the media release on their website and social media. 

g. Successful applicants must provide an event manager to be a point of contact for any enquiries about their cruise. 

h. All those taking part in the cruise will be required to agree to their images (photographed or filmed) being used for the publicity and promotion of the Cruise-for-a-Cause.

i. RealNZ reserves the right to hold one cabin on each overnight cruise for media and/or staff to assist with publicity about the event. If cabins are still available, after the organisation's ticket sale deadline, RealNZ reserve the right to use additional cabins.

j. The organisation is entitled to ONE cabin on its overnight cruise to use for promotional purposes and/or its staff. All other cabins must be paid for.

k. RealNZ cannot provide passenger email addresses to the organisation for the purposes of, or in connection with, the Cruise-for-a-Cause event, in alignment with the RealNZ Privacy Policy.

l. The RealNZ "Travel for Free" competition does not apply to the Cruise-for-a-Cause.

m. Please note, transport to/from the cruise is not included.

3.     Judging criteria

The criteria on which entries will be judged are:

a. The ‘good cause’ or what the funds will be used for (this should be clearly explained), and the proven ability of the organisation to reach its particular goal as a result of the Cruise-for-a-Cause funds raised. Please note the funds are not intended for routine operational purposes.

b. The extent to which the organisation shows its ‘cause’ will enhance the areas of conservation, education, health or rescue.

c. The marketing plan – how the organisation intends to maximise the opportunity to raise as much as it can.

d. Evidence that the organisation is able to market the event and make it a successful fundraiser.

NB. This is a fun, social occasion that will allow your organisation to come together and to get to know your supporters better. We have found that involving the Head of Organisation and having them reach out directly to key supporters leads to fantastic results. Applicants should be prepared to involve the whole team in promoting and selling the fundraiser. 

4.     Decision

RealNZ leadership team will review all applications, and in their absolute discretion, will decide on the two organisations that will be awarded the Cruise-for-a-Cause and the destination they will be offered. Once the successful applicants have been notified, there will be a media release posted on the RealNZ website. The decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.  

5.     Dates/cancellations 

The dates allocated by RealNZ are not able to be altered. In the event that a Cruise-for-a-Cause is unable to go ahead, RealNZ will provide a refund of any funds it has collected (excluding any credit card surcharges) and will request that participants make a donation to the organisation.

In the event that a supporter wishes to cancel or amend their booking, refunds will only be granted when RealNZ receives notifications prior to the ticket sales deadline (8 weeks prior to each departure). We strongly recommend travel insurance for participants for this event as we have no control over disruptive weather conditions or road closures.

6.     Vessel

We want you to raise as much money as you can but if you do not sell all your spaces in the time allocated, we will reassess your allocation (8 weeks prior to the departure). RealNZ reserves the right to provide the remaining tickets to another organisation or invite its own guests.

7.     Acceptance of terms and conditions

An application to Real Group Ltd. constitutes acceptance of these terms and conditions.  All the information provided at the time of application and subsequently requested must be true and accurate. RealNZ reserves the right to make the final decision on all matters regarding the operation of the cruise.  Failure to comply with these terms and conditions may result in the Cruise-for-a-Cause being withdrawn.