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Best places to cruise in December

Silly season is set to sizzle. Cool down with a cruise on the high seas.

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With a long Christmas holiday break, New Year's Eve celebrations and hot Australian sunshine, December is a traveller's dream.

Thinking of taking a cruise before the new year rolls in? We know a few places to help you finish it off with a bang.

Top 3 places to cruise in December


1. Great Barrier Reef

Welcome the summer sun with a trip to one of the sunniest states in the nation.

Queensland boasts an impressive number of beach locations where you can pull up in a ship, but if we had to choose one, the Great Barrier Reef is a no-brainer. Sailings usually depart from across Australia, though this year are limited to Queensland-based ports. Either way, you can fly in and expect the weather in December is oh-so-fine for the journey.

  • Departures from: Brisbane.
  • Why December? Summer welcomes warm weather and brilliant conditions for sailing. Cruise out early enough and you'll avoid families on holidays. You can also take advantage of the summer break with a family-friendly cruise where the kids will have a seemingly endless number of activities to tuck into.

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New Year's Eve fireworks in Sydney Habrour.

2. Sydney Harbour

Because nobody stops Sydney's famous New Year's Eve fireworks.

After much nail-biting, Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks have been given the green light. Book your spot on one of the boats and wine, dine and party 2021 away as you sail into the new year. Literally.

  • Departures from: King Street Wharf, The Rocks, Pyrmont, Casino Wharf Lavendar Bay, Rose Bay and Woolloomooloo wharves.
  • Why December? New Year's Eve is on 31 December. So yes, it just inches in there.

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Bruny Island Cruise with Pick up from Kettering

3. Tasmania

Summer is the best time to visit the land under the land Down Under.

If you're seeking sunshine in Tassie you'd best believe December and January are the months to visit. Decembers come with 17–23°C weather and clear skies and there are more than a handful of cruises to take you around its highlights. These include Bruny Island, Strahan, Port Arthur and the Derwent River. Choose your adventure.

Also, if you time your trip just right you could be in Hobart for the welcoming of the Sydney to Hobart yachts as they race in.

  • Departures from: Around Tasmania.
  • Why December? This is one of the warmest months of the year for Tasmania, giving you a chance to shed some layers and enjoy being on the deck of the boats. This year, Hobart's predicted to experience 16–26°C highs throughout the month.

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The best of the rest:

The travel ban is no more and Australians can finally head overseas and enjoy all the world has to offer.



Antarctica is a thing of beauty.

Teeming with wildlife and covered in clean white ice, travelling through its waters is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure you won't soon forget.

Summer offers early-season conditions leading to better chances for onshore expeditions. During December, you can catch whales migrating and the end of elephant seal mating season.

  • Departures from: Tasmania and New Zealand's South Island.
  • Why December? The summer months from November to March are the only months ships sail through the area. This is due to ice packs in winter that make it unsafe to sail.


Western Europe

Spend Christmas on a cruise of a different kind and float through Europe's extensive network of rivers.

During Christmas, European river cruises take on a different tune. Bedazzled with the twinkle of Christmas lights, the river banks come flecked in snow and the towns shine with the sounds of Christmas carols and the smells of winter spices from within their bespoke Christmas markets. It's a sight you have to see.

  • Departures from: UK, Germany, Austria, France, Hungary and more.
  • Why December? River cruises are available year-round, though for the Christmas markets, you have a tight window between late-November and early-January to experience them by water. This makes December prime Christmas market cruising time.



Take the famous Hurtigruten ship up the coast of Norway into the Arctic for a spectacular sight.

With winter well underway in Europe, the possibilities of seeing the Aurora Borealis increase. Otherwise known as the Northern Lights, these are best seen from November to February in the Arctic Circle.

If cruising is the way you want to see them, Norway is the place to be. Hurtigruten travels from Bergen to Kirkenes calling in at Tromsø and Hammerfest, which are renowned for their Northern Lights. The ship also offers an alert system if the lights come out while sailing.

  • Departures from: Bergen, Alesund, Trondheim, Bronnoysund, Bodo, Tromsø, Hammerfest and Kirkenes..
  • Why December? Cruising the fjords of Norway in December is a perfect way to increase your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis, most cruises head into some remote locations which provide incredible views.

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