On Feb. 7, Artists Greg Allan and Amanda Hyatt joined me on board the Sun Princess to take 60 painters on a cruising workshop around New Zealand.

I had never been on a cruise ship before and could not believe the scale and efficiency of this floating giant. With 2000 guests and 900 staff, I imagined long cues for everything , but I’d never seen anything run so smoothly!

We sailed from Sydney to the Bay of Islands then hopped our way down the East Coast of New Zealand, stopping at all the major ports.

Anchored in the Bay of Islands, we were ferried ashore by the ships tenders

Our first day painting ashore was in the small town of Russell in the Bay Of Islands. A sunny day under a shady tree with cafes and bakeries close by – what luxury!

Painting on board was in the large, plastic wrapped disco with panoramic ocean views.

On board demos took students through a number of techniques we would use once ashore.

On board Hawkesbury River demo, showing how to simplify a complex subject.

We found a busy boatyard on Auckland Harbor and spent a day painting there. They say Auckland has more boats per head of population than any other city in the world.

Napier was an interesting town – destroyed by earthquake in 1931 then completely rebuilt in the Art Deco style. It has been proudly maintained in that style ever since

We spent an afternoon painting in the central park, the interesting architecture and tall palms making great subjects

A warm sunny day greeted us in the beautiful city of Christchurch. This is the side door to Christchurch cathedral. It is hard to believe, just a week later the city was hit by a devastating earthquake. The cathedral spire crashing to the ground where we painted.

One of the few bad weather days on the workshop. Dunedin was overcast, cold and windy, but it somehow added to the character of this old tug and the jetty below.

Fiordland on the southern tip of New Zealand was spectacular in the early morning mist. Later in the day we sailed into Milford Sound. The clouds had lifted and the sun was shining. It looked amazing, but I cant help wondering what it would have looked like through mist and rain. Some things need lousy weather to look their best.

Milford Sound

For our final demo Greg, Amanda and I worked simultaneously on this large, three sheet painting. The finished work was auctioned for charity and the winning bidder kindly donated it to be hung on board the Sun Princess.

Life on board a cruise ship is pretty luxurious, good food, amazing service, lots of entertainment, bars and restaurants everywhere. Would I do another cruising workshop? You bet!