7 best Australia cruise lines to explore the coast
Fall in love with our coastline all over again with these top Australia cruise line options.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Think you know Australia? Discover your own backyard from a whole new perspective on board some of the world’s most prestigious cruise lines. With unique itineraries and exciting ports of call, you will be able to catch a bird’s eye view of the famed Harbour Bridge, trek the untouched Tasmanian rainforests and sip award-winning Margaret River wines. There is no better way to enjoy what place we call “home” has to offer.
With our cheap cruise deals and great savings with our coupon codes, there is every reason book that long awaited cruise holiday now. So read on to find the perfect cruise line and explore Australia.
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: Back barbecue-style dinner at Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ, good beer and great tunes at the Redfrog Pub or tasty pizzas at Pizza Pirate. Bonsai Sushi has something a little more exotic, while Nouveau offers a fine dining experience on sea.
- Top Australian ships: Carnival Spirit, Carnival Legend
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 for money.
- Unlike most other cruise lines, all payments are in Australian dollars and gratuities are not added automatically.
- Available dining options: Salt Grill by Luke Mangan is the first celebrity chef restaurant at sea. The Pantry offers contemporary Australian and international cuisine. Try the Cellar Door for wine tasting and classes.
- Top Australian ships: Pacific Eden, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel
Image: 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.
- Wide choice of stateroom options, including the Royal Suite Class that comes with your own personal butler.
- Impressive entertainment, from synchronised swimming shows to photo ops with characters from “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda”.
- Available dining options: Dynamic Dining Choice allows you to eat at your restaurant of choice anytime you want. Sample comfort foods at the American Icon Grill or try Jamie Oliver’s Italian. For something casual, build your own hot dogs at Dog House while The Grande Restaurant will satisfy the most sophisticated taste buds.
- Top Australian ships: Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas
Princess Cruises offers what you know and love about the traditional cruising experience with a modern and fun twist.
- For a small fee you can invite family and friends on board when you port on the Bon Voyage Experience.
- Anytime Dining and Movies Under the Stars allow you to watch movies poolside on giant LED screens.
- Available dining options: Try celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s exclusive menu or pub favourites at The Salty Dog served with a gourmet twist. All the dining options on board are made from scratch everyday and use the finest ingredients.
- Top Australian ships: Dawn Princess, Sun Princess, Sea Princess, Emerald Princess, Golden Princess
For cruisers looking for style, comfort and great personal service without the hefty price tag, Celebrity should be your choice.
- Aims for personalised service, from greeting you by name to serving your preferred desserts at meals.
- Around the clock activities range from educational to playful.
- Available dining options: Feast on fresh seafood with spectacular ocean or lawn views at The Porch and grill your own steaks at Lawn Club Grill. For a more fine dining experience, explore French classics at Murano.
- Top Australia ships: Celebrity Solstice
Image: Holland America
If you prefer a more traditional cruising experience away from the waterslides and parties, consider cruising with Holland America.
- Vintage-style ships with understated decor and unobtrusive programs that cater to the older generation of cruisers.
- Carefully crafted shore excursions with local experts let you explore places and connect with locals.
- Available dining options: The Dining Room is where most go for sophisticated dining abroad. The Pinnacle Grill and Le Cirque are firm favorites or share an authentic Italian experience at Canaletto with loved ones.
- Top Australian ships: MS Maasdam, MS Noordam
Image: Captain Cook
Famed for its Fijian cruises, Captain Cook also offers some river-based itineraries along the Murray River.
- 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.
- Top Australian ships: Murray Princess
Average price per night for an Australia cruise with these companies:
Price for a drinks package on these Australia cruise lines
- Bottomless Bubbles: Includes unlimited juice and soda. Note: Carnival's Cheers! Beverage program, which includes unlimited alcohol, or any alcohol-inclusive program, is not available on South Pacific sailings.
Price: $7.25 for adults and $5.50 for children, per day
- Soft drinks: Includes unlimited fizzy drinks.
Price: $7 per day
- In-room bottled water: Includes six 1.5-litre bottles of water delivered to your room.
Price: $19.80 per cruise
- Premium: Includes soft drinks, select spirits, wine, beer, coffee, cocktails and small bottles of water. Note: This package is only available on cruises seven nights or longer.
Price: $79 per day
- Non-Alcoholic: Includes premium coffee and tea, bottled water, fresh orange juice, non-alcoholic cocktails, fountain sodas.
Price: US$19 for adults and US$8 for children, per day
- Select: Includes beer, wine by the glass, fountain soda, non-alcoholic cocktails.
Price: US$39 per day
- Premium: Includes premium, frozen and non-alcoholic cocktails, beer, premium wine by the glass, bottled water, fountain soda.
Price: US$49 per day
- Ultimate: Everything from all the packages above, plus any other available drink options.
Price: US$59 per day
Captain Cook (Murray River):
There isn’t a drinks packages available on Captain Cook cruises, however there is a bar and two lounges on board.
- Unlimited Sodas and More: Unlimited fountain soft drinks, non-alcoholic cocktails, juices and hot chocolate.
Price: US$8.05 per day
- Cafe Select: Valid for 15 espresso-based specialty coffees.
Price: $35.65 per card
- All Inclusive: Unlimited drinks including cocktails, wine, beer, soda, lattes, cappuccinos and bottled water. Drinks must be valued at no more than $10 each.
- Soda Package: Unlimited sodas at any bar, lounge or restaurant on board.
Price: $12.60 per night
- Premium Bottled Water Package: Evian, Pellegrino and Perrier throughout the cruise at any bar, lounge or restaurant on board.
Price: $22.40 per night
- Premium Non-Alcoholic Package: Unlimited soft drinks, premium bottled waters, specialty teas and coffees, energy drinks and vitamin waters.
Price: $30.80 per night
- Classic Package: Unlimited beers up to $6 per serving, spirits, cocktails, liqueurs and frozen drinks up to $8 per serving and wine by-the-glass up to $9 per serving, plus a 15% discount on wine-by-the-bottle.
Price: $77 per night
- Premium Package: Unlimited craft beers, top-shelf spirits, premium cocktails and wines-by-the-glass up to $13 per serving, plus a 20% discount on wine-by-the-bottle.
Price: $91 per night
Beverage cards available in increments of $25, $50, $100 and $250 can be pre-purchased and used toward drinks on board.
Which destinations do these cruise lines visit?
|Carnival||P&O||Royal Caribbean||Princess||Celebrity Cruises||Holland America||Captain Cook|
|New South Wales||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Importance of cruise travel insurance for domestic cruises
What many cruisers don't know, is that if you're travelling on a cruise around Australia's coast, you're not necessarily covered for any medical care you need to receive on board as cruises aren't required to have a Medicare doctor on board - and if they don't, medical bills can add up fast. Luckily, domestic cruise travel insurance can help reduce the risk.
Plus, there's much more to your travel insurance than just medical care. If your flight to the cruise's departure city is delayed, or if something happens to you prior to departure that requires you to cancel your trip, travel insurance can cover you.
More guides on Finder
Best places to visit in South Australia
Discover tourist hotspots like Adelaide and Kangaroo Valley and best kept secrets such as the Yorke Peninsula and Mount Gambier on your next trip around South Australia.
Best remote destinations in Australia to explore
Take a trip unlike any other to one of Australia's most beautiful remote destinations for an unforgettable experience.
Cruise lines that have cancelled services due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
See all the cruise lines that have cancelled their trips and find out how passengers will be refunded.
Best places to go for cruises in September 2021
Cruising in September means warm weather through Australia's waterways. Here's where we recommend pulling up anchor for.
Best cruise destinations in August 2021
Our hit-picks on the exotic locations to cruise around in August before the change of season.
Best places to cruise in June
June is an ideal month for some of the top cruise destinations whether you’ve packed your bathers or winter woollies.
5 best places to cruise in February 2021
A cruise in summer helps you to see the sights without all the crowds. Visit the best destinations for February with the ideal weather for extending your summer fun.
Cheap Travel Deals of the Week: Jetstar, Carnival Cruises, Virgin Atlantic
Discover Tassie on the cheap, fly around the world for under $1,200, score $600 off tours worldwide and so much more
Best places to cruise in November
With summer in our sights, we suss out the best places to hit the water by cruise ship in November.
Best holidays for toddlers in Australia to take in 2021
Discover the top places to take toddlers around Australia with our run-down of family-friendly, affordable holiday destinations from Brisbane to Darwin.
Ask an Expert