When is the best time to cruise New Zealand?

Figure out the best time to visit beautiful New Zealand based on weather conditions, peak season and prices.

Take to the waters around New Zealand for one of the best ways to see the incredible coastline’s beaches and fjords.

Best time to cruise New Zealand

November to March.


Being summer, November through March are the warmest months in New Zealand, meaning it is best for those nature-based shore excursions. Cruise options are also much more limited during the winter months.


New Zealand is a popular cruise destination due to its beautiful scenery and the summer months are usually the busiest and most expensive.

It can be a good idea to travel in the shoulder months of October–November and March–April, to make your trip a little less expensive and not as crowded.

Weather and prices

Best time to visit New Zealand, weather-wise: December through to March is the best time to visit New Zealand for a cruise, as they are the warmer months.

Cheapest time to cruise New Zealand: October, November and April are good options to cruise New Zealand on a budget, as they are out of the peak season but the weather will still be relatively warm.

Best time to take shore excursions in New Zealand to...

  • Fiordland: December to February will be the warmest time to be on the water in New Zealand’s far south, and will be the most pleasant to experience the World Heritage Sites – Milford and Doubtful Sounds – as this destination is amazing for trekking and kayaking. Many cruises in the area will sail right into these fjords.
  • Rotorua (from Tauranga): November to May are the warmest and driest months to see the area’s hot thermal springs, bubbling mud and the famous Pohutu Geyser.
  • Auckland: December to April should grant you days at 20 degrees or more and are the drier months to visit New Zealand’s largest city.
  • Hobbiton (from Tauranga): November to May are the warmest and driest months to take an excursion to Hobbiton, which is mostly outdoors.
  • Marlborough: While any time of year is ideal for visiting the area’s famed cellar doors, summer in Marlborough brings long, sunny days and perfect weather for exploring the area’s walking tracks and waterways.

Hot New Zealand cruise deals

Up to 60% off second passenger with Royal Caribbean

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Valid for cruise on select sailings to the South Pacific (Vanuatu and New Caledonia) and New Zealand.

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Room upgrade from just $100 with Princess + up to $200 onboard credit

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Valid for cruises to the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe, Alaska and the Americas. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 30% off select Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 cruises

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Valid for travel on select dates and sailings. Destinations include Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and more. T&Cs apply

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Worldwide singles cruises from $2,075

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Valid on select sailings in Alaska, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Asia and Europe. Cruise lines include Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, and Avalon Waterways. Sample price is an Alaska cruise.

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Free extras with P&O + Up to $300 onboard credit

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Valid on select Tasmania, Queensland, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Vanuatu cruises. Get up to $100 GoCatch credit, New Zealand Natural ice cream and onboard credit.

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Up to $3,000 off select sailings + up to $1,000 off airfares Valid for travel on select dates and sailings. Offer is valid on stateroom bookings only. Destinations include Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska, New Zealand, Australia and more. T&C's apply.

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