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Best Australia cruises

Fall in love with the Land Down Under with these cruise line options.

Updated

High Angle View Of Cruise Next To Opera House Against Clear Sky

Explore Australia on board some of the world’s most prestigious cruise lines. With unique itineraries and exciting ports of call, catch a bird’s eye view of the famed Harbour Bridge, trek the untouched Tasmanian rainforests and sip award-winning Margaret River wines.

Carnival

Famous for its Fun Ships, Carnival Cruise Line has been providing family-friendly cruise holidays since 1972 and has two ships sailing around Australia and the South Pacific.
  • Award-winning youth programs that cater to kids of all ages.
  • Wide range of on-board entertainment, from dance shows to mini golf and casinos.
  • Available dining options from BBQ, pizza, sushi and fine dining.
  • Top Australian ships: Carnival Spirit, Carnival Legend
Price ($-$$$):
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P&O Cruises

Australia's largest cruise line attracts locals and foreigners alike, with choice entertainment and dining options. Check out the line's newest ship, the Pacific Explorer.
  • Casual, family-friendly vibe with a focus on value.
  • All payments are in Australian dollars and gratuities are not added automatically.
  • Dining options from celebrity chef Luke Mangan, Australian cuisine and wine tasting.
  • Top Australian ships: Pacific Explorer, Pacific Eden, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel
Price ($-$$$):
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Royal Caribbean

A great choice for families, Royal Caribbean's entertainment choices are second to none. Plus, the cruise line is sending one of its newest mega ships, Ovation of the Seas, down under.
  • Many stateroom options, including the Royal Suite Class that comes with your own personal butler.
  • Impressive entertainment, from synchronized swimming shows to photo ops with characters from “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda.
  • Dining options include American cuisine, Jamie Oliver Italian or casual hot dogs.
  • Top Australian ships: Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas
Price ($-$$$):
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Princess

Princess Cruises offers what you know and love about the traditional cruising experience with a modern and fun twist.
  • Invite family and friends on board when you port on the Bon Voyage Experience.
  • Dine and watch movies under the stars with its on giant LED screens.
  • Dining options include celebrity chef Curtis Stone's exclusive menu or pub favorites, and everything is made on board, from scratch.
  • Top Australian ships: Dawn Princess, Sun Princess, Sea Princess, Emerald Princess, Golden Princess
Price ($-$$$):

Celebrity

For cruisers looking for style, comfort and great personal service without the hefty price tag, Celebrity should be your choice.
  • Aims for personalized service, from greeting you by name to serving your preferred desserts at meals.
  • Around the clock activities range from educational to playful.
  • Dining options include seafood, grill your own steaks and French cuisine.
  • Top Australia ships: Celebrity Solstice
Price ($-$$$):
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Holland America

Australia's largest cruise line attracts locals and foreigners alike, with choice entertainment and dining options. Check out the line's newest ship, the Pacific Explorer.
  • Vintage-style ships with understated decor and unobtrusive programs that cater to older cruisers.
  • Carefully crafted shore excursions with local experts let you explore places and connect with locals.
  • Dining options include sophisticated dining, casual grill with burger and sandwiches and authentic Italian.
  • Top Australian ships: MS Maasdam, MS Noordam
Price ($-$$$):
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Captain Cook

Australia's largest cruise line attracts locals and foreigners alike, with choice entertainment and dining options. Check out the line's newest ship, the Pacific Explorer.
  • Friendly, easy-going cruises with lots of opportunity to explore local places along the Murray River.
  • While Murray River cruises are smaller vessels than ocean liners, all meals are still included.

How we picked our best cruises.

When choosing cruises for this list, we look at the quality of routes available from each cruise line, prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at key destinations around Australia.

We also consider onboard dining options, weighing the number, variety and overall quality of restaurants against passenger reviews. Finally, we weigh cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.

We also seek out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.

When is the best time to cruise around Australia?

The best time of year to cruise Australia depends on your plans. Consider peak season if you’re up to exploring the Barrier Reef, or cruise during the rainy season if you’re looking for some foodie experiences in the south. While Australia is a year-round cruising destination, it does still have four distinct seasons.

Here are some important factors to consider to help you choose the best time for your next cruising holiday.

  • Peak season.October to April is known as “Wave Season” in Australia and it’s when you’ll find the widest choice of itineraries, departures and vessels.
  • Rainy season. The cyclone season runs from November to April with the greatest risk of storms falling between March and April. Make sure you consider cruise travel insurance to avoid any disappointment during your holiday.
  • Key festivals and events. You’ll find more families traveling between mid-December and late January during the summer school holidays. For something special, look out for themed cruises planned around holidays like Christmas, New Years and even the Melbourne Cup.
  • Looking to save some money? Travel during winter can still be very pleasant and you’re more likely to find a bargain.

What are the must-do cruise excursions in Australia?

  • Great Ocean Road (Melbourne).A quintessential Aussie experience with views of the Twelve Apostles, craggy coastlines, spectacular waterfalls and quaint little seaside towns.
  • Museum of Old and New Art (Hobart). A controversial contemporary art museum described as a “subversive adult Disneyland” that’s sure to surprise and impress most art lovers.
  • Litchfield National Park (Darwin). A wonder of the Top End, you’ll find pristine swimming holes, picturesque walking trails and idyllic waterfalls all ready for you to explore.
  • Australia Zoo (Brisbane). The home of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin lets you get up close and personal with Aussie and exotic wildlife along with stacks of exciting animal action and chances for interaction.
  • Blue Mountains (Sydney). Mountain-top vistas, local wildlife and the Three Sisters rock formation are all on the agenda during a day trip to this Unesco World Heritage Site.
  • Scenic helicopter ride (Great Barrier Reef). The magic of our great reef is best seen from above where you can spot stingrays, turtles, dugongs, sharks, dolphins, whales and the interesting coral formations like the Heart Reef.

See the latest cruise deals:

Avoya Travel Avoya Travel

Royal Caribbean sale: buy 1 get 1 60% off cruise fares, up to $150 free onboard credit and kids sail free

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Orbitz Orbitz

Vacation with freedom and flexibility - free cancellation hotels

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Car sale - take up to 20% off when you book with Avis or budget

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Travelocity Travelocity

Up to 20% off Avis and budget car sale

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Orbitz Orbitz

Up to 20% off your rental car when you book with avis or budget

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CheapTickets CheapTickets

Save an extra 16% on select hotels

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Travelocity Travelocity

Smart Savings: Over 40% off Sale

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CheapTickets CheapTickets

16% off select Hotel stays

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Bottom line

Discover Australia through the eyes of a tourist and learn what makes it so special from top to bottom. Check out our top cruise deals to help turn your dream holiday into a reality.

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