You will discover the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, hidden white-sand beaches and incredible wildlife when you cruise from Cairns, Australia’s sunny gateway to the tropics. Choose from a number of premium cruise lines to sail you through crystalline blues, to enjoy exotic islands and stunning reefs.
Main Cruise Ships Departing Cairns
Pacific Eden - With nine guest decks, a top deck pool with sensational views, the luxurious adults-only Oasis and delicious dining options, you’ll have the time of your life sailing to destinations like the Whitsundays, Bali and Papua New Guinea.
Pacific Aria - Sister ship to Pacific Eden, this sleek ship offers a staggering 15 delicious eateries and all your favourite entertainment and activities, including the famous Gatsby and Bianco parties.
Silver Discoverer - An intimate ship for up to 120 guests, the Silver Discoverer’s smaller stature allows you to discover harder-to-reach destinations and pampers you with its all-inclusive service along the way.
Radiance of the Seas- Wherever you go in this Royal Caribbean vessel, you’ll be greeted by dazzling decor and of course, stunning sea views thanks to its nine-storey glass-enclosed Atrium.
Sea Princess - Dining room options such as Traviata, Rigoletto and the Riviera Grill will treat your tastebuds as you sip on fine wine and decide which one of this ship’s classic entertainment options to partake in - you’re spoilt for choice.
Major cruise brands that depart from Cairns
Every cruise lover can find a deal on the perfect getaway with this range of popular lines departing Cairns.
P&O Cruises - This brand is no doubt a Cairns favourite as the city plays host to P&O’s Pacific Eden, a ship fairly new to P&O’s five-strong fleet. This and many other investments in recent years demonstrate the line’s commitment to attracting the next generation of cruisers in Australia. Get ready for a relaxing good time when you cruise out of Cairns on a P&O cruise.
Royal Caribbean - Extreme grandeur and large, awe-inspiring vessels are what Royal Caribbean is known for. Your Royal ship could feature anything from a rock-climbing wall to an ice-skating rink to a robot bartender and everything in between.
Carnival- If you’re looking for family fun cruises from Cairns, Carnival is your first port of call, perfectly balancing affordability with quality. The kids will be well taken care of in Camp Carnival, or if they’re old enough, occupied with the water park while you enjoy the adults-only area.
Princess - Experience a classic cruise from Cairns with Princess. From sea to shore, you can expect high-quality dining, beautiful staterooms and fabulous entertainment and activities. This is what cruising is all about.
Norwegian - Norwegian adds some European elegance to cruising Down Under with its colourful ships and enriching shore excursions. Customise your cruise when you sail on Norwegian (NCL) from Cairns.
Destinations - where can you sail on a cruise from Cairns?
Compare domestic and international destinations on cruises departing from Cairns. Whether you want to relax on white-sand beaches or explore far-flung jungles, there’s something for everyone when you cruise from Cairns.
Australia - With such great deals on Australian cruises, why not stay closer to home? Explore Aussie’s own bounty with cruises from Cairns to the idyllic Fraser, Willis and Hamilton Islands, not to mention the Whitsundays. Or, sail away on a grand Australia cruise stopping at the major ports of Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin and Brisbane. A last minute cruise to Melbourne is also a great option.
Asia - Why not choose to cruise from Cairns to Bali, Indonesia’s crown jewel? Rice paddies, coral reefs and towering volcanic mountains await. Or, depart from Cairns and make your way to stylish Singapore, followed by a stop in the Philippines to dip your toes into crystal-clear waters.
The South Pacific - Depart from Cairns and discover Pacific destinations such as Papua New Guinea; remote beaches, rich cultural experiences and lush scenery are among the attractions. Or, get ready to say ‘Bonjour’ with a journey to New Caledonia.
Passenger numbers - how many Australians take cruises from Cairns?
The cruising industry in Australia is heating up and Cairns is no exception. More and more ships are making maiden voyages to the tropical city, giving the region’s tourism industry a healthy boost. CLIA Australia estimates that in 2014, Cairns experienced 61,050 passenger visit days. In 2017, the industry is set to get bigger than ever with 59 cruise vessels scheduled to berth in Cairns’ Trinity Inlet, with around 19 more anchoring at nearby Yorkeys Knob. This is up from a total of 40 in 2016. Each year, the Cairns cruise industry pumps upwards of $25 million into the economy and this is only set to grow with more cruise lines adding Cairns to their itinerary.
Where is Cairns cruise terminal located and what is its capacity?
Cairn’s primary port is owned by Ports North and is located at the Trinity Inlet in central Cairns. It features five wharves with a dedicated cruise terminal: the award-winning Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal in the centre of the city. This historic wharf dates back to the original port in the 1800s. Now, this terminal also serves as the homeport for the Pacific Eden ship. The terminal has the capacity to disembark 1200 passengers and can cater to more than 2000 in transit. Up to two cruise vessels can berth at this port at once.
Facilities and parking at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal
The Cairns Cruise Liner terminal is located in the heart of the city, so dining and entertainment options are aplenty. If time permits, explore some of the amazing attractions nearby. The Skyrail Cableway, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, day trips to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest are just some of your options.
The terminal is also wheelchair accessible, and finding a taxi will be no trouble. Alternatively, you can park for $10 a day. Simply pay at the ticket machine by credit card or cash.
How to get to Cairns Cruise Terminal
The port is located at the corner of Wharf and Lakes Streets in central Cairns, making it easy to get to. Cairns doesn’t yet have the traffic of larger Australian cities, so it’s roughly a quick ten-minute drive from the Cairns International Airport to the cruise port.
Getting there from Cairns Airport
The easiest option is to take a taxi or a shuttle as public transport options are limited. This will cost approximately $15-20.
A number of cruise ships also anchor off Yorkeys Knob in northern Cairns - usually vessels that are too large to enter the Trinity Inlet. Ships do not berth at a wharf - rather, the boat remains offshore and passengers are ferried to land in smaller boats called tenders.
Getting to Yorkeys Knob
Yorkeys Knob is an easy 10-15 minute drive from Cairns airport. You can hire a car, or take a taxi or shuttle. Once again, public transport options are limited.
At Yorkeys Knob, you can enjoy some wonderful activities:
• Explore some of the region’s most beautiful beaches
• Practice your swing at the Half Moon Bay Golf Club
• Enjoy the shopping and dining options with ocean views
Weather and climate - when is the best time to cruise from Cairns?
Cruises from Cairns operate year-round, however, it’s important to remember that Queensland has a tropical climate. The weather can be changeable, so make sure you research your dates.
• The Australian winter (April through September) can be the perfect time to cruise from Cairns as rainfall is minimal. The temperature is ‘cooler’ but still hovers between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius!
• The summer months in Cairns (October through March) are hot - expect temperatures to hover in the late 20s and mid 30s Celsius. Summer is also the rainy season. This is when tropical storms and cyclones are most likely to occur.
• Spring (September through November) and autumn (March through May) are both very temperate seasons - expect between 20 and 29 degrees Celsius.
• If you want to witness the reef’s annual coral spawning, visit in November.