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What are the best cruise ships in the South Pacific? Our top ten picks

What are the best cruise ships in the South Pacific? Our top ten picks

We might be biased, but we have a whole lot of love for the big, beautiful vessels that cruise from Australia. Each one is unique and offers something different and wonderful, providing an array of entertainment, dining, drinking and activity options as they sail around the ports of the South Pacific and beyond. These are our top ten picks.

Pacific Explorer

Relatively new to the P&O fleet, the Pacific Explorer was announced in October 2015 and joined the fleet in mid-2017. It is P&O’s biggest vessel and provides oodles of fun in the sun in true laid back modern Aussie style. Onboard, you’ll find:

  • Capacity for almost 2,000 passengers over 11 guest decks
  • Two waterslides, a waterpark and a zipline
  • 12 dining options

Get onboard the Pacific Explorer and enjoy a voyage like this South Pacific Cruise.

Pacific Aria

Small but full of character, the Pacific Aria offers an intimate and enjoyable cruise experience. Along with sister ship Pacific Eden, she ushered in a new era of contemporary P&O cruising in 2015 and has been going strong ever since. She boasts:

  • An all-weather pool on the top deck
  • Space for around 1,200 passengers
  • Luxurious penthouse suites

Enjoy a fantastic holiday on one of the Pacific Aria’s adventurous itineraries, such as a journey to Papua New Guinea.

Carnival Spirit

The Carnival Spirit at port in Sydney Harbour

This Carnival vessel has long been one of Australia’s favourite cruise ships. It is packed with activities and amenities that provide a good time for all ages, from waterparks and mini-golf to the elaborate casino and theatre. The ship also has:

  • An array of delicious dining options
  • A “Green Thunder” waterslide
  • Capacity for more than 2,100 passengers

You can get a taste of the Spirit on one of the short weekend sampler cruises.

MS Maasdam

This member of the Holland America fleet mixes modern comfort with traditional charm and offers passengers many opportunities for enrichment and entertainment. It has a low-key elegance, along with:

  • A relaxing spa and salon
  • BBC Earth Experiences
  • 1,250-guest capacity

Get onboard a Maasdam adventure such as the New Zealand Panorama Cruise.

Golden Princess

The Golden Princess docked in Sydney Harbour with the Dawn Princess just to the other side

Like much of the Princess fleet, the Golden Princess is all about sophistication. She is a big ship and a beautiful one, offering the modern elegance and romance for which the line is known. Couples and families alike enjoy features like the enormous Movies Under the Stars screen and Skywalkers Nightclub high above the stern. The ship has:

  • Four pools
  • Beds for 2,600 guests
  • Discovery at Sea enrichment programming

Carnival Legend

This legendary member of the Carnival fleet makes an unforgettable holiday venue. From Caribbean vibes at the casual RedFrog Pub serving Carnival’s own beer, to the Build-a-Bear workshops at sea, there is fun for absolutely everyone onboard this vessel. She also boasts:

  • 2,124 passenger capacity over 12 decks
  • An array of formal and casual dining options
  • Serenity, the adults-only retreat

Sail away on a fantastic Carnival Legend itinerary such as this short and sweet Moreton Island Cruise.

Ovation of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas looking mighty with a backdrop of mountains

This exciting ship is big, bold and brimming with things to see and do. Launched in 2016 as a new build, she is an exciting addition to the Aussie cruise scene and has endless entertainment possibilities including bumper cars, a skydiving simulator and much, much more. You’ll also find onboard:

  • An astounding passenger capacity of around 4,200
  • Huge variety of dining venues including Jamie’s Italian
  • A viewing capsule which soars 300 feet above the sea

Take a voyage to remember on the Ovation with an itinerary like this New Zealand Cruise.

Seabourn Encore

The luxurious Seabourn experience is at its peak aboard the innovative new Seabourn Encore. Along with sister ship Seabourn Ovation, she provides a new generation of luxury cruising in which everything from service to food to entertainment is absolutely top shelf. She has:

  • Exquisite spa facilities
  • All-suite accommodation for 600 guests
  • Interiors designed by Adam D. Tihany

Indulge in a Seabourn Encore experience with one of the ship’s exciting itineraries, which cover an array of intrepid destinations.

Norwegian Jewel

The colourful Norwegian Jewel cruise ship docked and ready for boarding

Inject a little colour into your cruise holiday! Norwegian Cruise Line offers Aussie cruisers the best of “Freestyle Cruising” aboard the Jewel, which has so many options for eating, relaxing, activity and entertainment that you’ll never want to leave. She spends a lot of time in our part of the world - and has been recently refurbished. You’ll find onboard:

  • 15 bars and lounges
  • Sports courts, pools and spa pools
  • Capacity for nearly 2,400 passengers

Explore the South Pacific on the Norwegian Jewel with a holiday like this Australia and New Zealand Cruise.

Reef Endeavour

The Reef Endeavour by Captain Cook Fiji will get you up close and personal with Fiji’s stunning offshore island chains. It’s a small, purpose-built ship designed to sail the oceans and lagoons of this tropical nation and provide passengers with the best possible experience of island-hopping. The informal, relaxed onboard atmosphere is our favourite feature of the Reef Endeavour, along with these highlights:

  • Comfortable suites and cabins for 130 passengers
  • A swimming pool and sun deck
  • Friendly and welcoming crew

Try the Reef Endeavour for yourself on one of the line’s great 4-day trips throughout the Fiji islands.

What’s your favourite South Pacific cruise ship? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Travelling the world one cruise at a time! I'm a massive foodie so onboard a cruise you'll most likely find me scoffing food at the buffet or trying all the cocktails onboard. My dream cruise destination would definitely be through Alaska, the wildlife and scenery would be so epic

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