Like Cinderella and her glass slippers, every cruiser or potential cruiser out there will find there’s a cruise that fits them perfectly: itinerary, ship and overall vibe all coming together for an unforgettable holiday on the seven seas. Not every cruise experience is created equal, so use the following tips to hit upon a cruise that suits you - and your family or travel companions - down to the ground.
Cruise lines and prices
A cruise that you can’t afford is not the right cruise for you! Australian cruisers are lucky to have many options at different price points, all of them providing excellent holidays. Here are the lines you might consider, their price brackets and what they offer. If in doubt, get in contact with one of Cruise Sale Finder’s cruise agents who are acquainted with the features and fares of each line sailing from Australia.
Low-cost cruises - P&O Australia, Carnival and to some extent Royal Caribbean are great options for cheap cruising, offering sailings with prices from AUD$70-$150 per person per night. With meals, accommodation, transport and activities all included, that’s an extremely cost-effective holiday. P&O is an Australia-based line, very relaxed and family friendly. Carnival is fun and exuberant for all ages with lots of activities, and Royal Caribbean offers lavish American-style service, food and fun.
Middle of the road - Moderate options when it comes to costs include lines like Princess and Holland America, with an elegant cruise experience at a cost slightly higher than the aforementioned lines. They are known for great onboard cuisine, and both eschew splashy entertainment for more low-key but high quality activities and shows. Holland America has a traditional nautical atmosphere, while Princess is all modern chic. At the higher end of midrange are Celebrity and Cunard, both quasi-luxury lines which will charge on average AUD$200-$250 per person per night for their high-end ships and itineraries. Of these two, Cunard is the more traditional while Celebrity brings modern elegance.
Top end - If you have been saving up for a special occasion or have a lot of cash to burn, a luxury line will help you cruise in style. These are pricey, but well worth the expense as they are often inclusive of beverages and other amenities, and their beautiful ships are staffed with high crew to passenger ratios for exquisite service. A luxury cruise line like Azamara or Seabourn will set you back several hundred dollars per night, but offer the high life in return: plush furnishings, staff at your beck and call, gourmet dining at all meals, and in-depth itineraries of the kind that only small boutique ships can sail.
Cruises from Australia visit a range of different places. We have arranged them here by vibe, so you can pick the one that works with your ideal holiday vision.
The isles of the South Pacific are the obvious choice for a balmy tropical cruise, and all of the major lines sail there frequently. South Pacific itineraries range from a week to several weeks, and can include port cities and remote islands in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and even as far away as Tahiti (Paul Gauguin is a luxury Tahiti line, but you’d need to fly there first to get onboard).
Papua New Guinea is a Melanesian nation often included in cruises to southeast Asia, and along with beach resorts in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand it can also deliver the tropical vibe you’re looking for.
For a spectacularly scenic cruise, you could fly north to Alaska or the fjords of Norway , or you could head just across the ditch to cruise around New Zealand. It has its own set of fjords which many cruise lines will sail through so passengers can sightsee from the deck (Princess offers many of these itineraries). The waterfalls, plunging cliffs, verdant mountains and dolphins of Fiordland will knock your socks off, and you can enjoy them all from the comfort of the ship.
New Zealand’s other scenic hotspots may require disembarking. The rolling green hills of the Hawke’s Bay wine region, the beautiful harbour of Akaroa, the island-dotted turquoise waters of the Bay of Islands and many more amazing landscapes await on various shore tours.
Australia adventures and short breaks
A domestic cruise is a great way to see some diverse destination types without too many days spent at sea. Australia cruises depart the main port cities and visit urban destinations, beach utopias and more. Tasmania has wilderness and breweries, and over in the West there is sunshine, wine and all kinds of fun.
Short break cruises are offered by many cruise lines and last 2-4 nights. While they do often visit one destination, the main attraction is relaxing time spent on the ship - and they are perfect for fitting in to busy schedules.
Far away journeys
Of course, you don’t have to stick around near Australia for your cruise holiday. Take your pick of cruising grounds - from the popular Caribbean, Mediterranean and Alaska to less common Middle East, North America and even Antarctica.
The weather: Consider the weather in the location you are dreaming of - midsummer is best for the moderate climate in New Zealand, the South Pacific has a dry season from May to October, and the various parts of Australia are ideal at different times of year.
School holidays: If you have kids of school age, the holidays are the ideal time to book your cruise - but get in quick, because they fill up fast and most ships will have limited spaces for young ones due to Kids Club capacities. If you prefer to avoid crowds, particularly crowds of children, aim to avoid the school holidays.
Fellow passengers: Different cruise lines attract different demographics, so consider the onboard atmosphere you would prefer. Cunard and Holland America tend to appeal to older passengers, while family friendly lines like P&O, Carnival and Royal Caribbean will have a lot of kids onboard, and as they are more affordable they also tend to have young adults who like to party.