Best Vivid Sydney Cruises for 2018

Get the best view of the festival of light aboard a Vivid Sydney harbour cruise.

Vivid Sydney has lit up the city’s foreshore each winter since 2009 with the display getting larger each year. The grand illuminations on the Sydney Opera House sails, interactive displays found throughout Circular Quay and the smaller unique displays lining the piers at Walsh Bay attract more than 1.7 million visitors.

Spreading from Darling Harbour and Barangaroo, under a lit-up Harbour Bridge, to The Rocks and Circular Quay, many of the Vivid festival’s displays take on a whole new perspective from the water, and joining a Vivid Sydney cruise is a great way to see the event’s displays without the walking and crowds.

This year it will be on 25 May - 16 June and here are some of the cruises that you don't want to miss out to get the best view for the event.

Lots to see on this table? Skip down to our top picks below.

Cruise NameDeparts from:What's included?LengthPriceBook
Vivid Festival cruiseKing Street Wharf
  • A glass of bubbly or a soft-drink
1.5 hours$15Book now
Vivid cruise with drinkKing Street Wharf
  • Drinks
1.5 hours$20Book now
Vivid Sydney Harbour Intimate cruiseTowns Place Wharf
  • Bread rolls and 1 non-alcoholic beverage
  • BYO Drinks
1.5 hours$29Book now
Vivid cruise with cocktailWalsh Bay
  • Canapes and a sparkling wine cocktail
2 hours$29Book now
Vivid Festival Cruise with champagne cocktailKing Street Wharf
  • Canapes and champagne cocktail
2 hours$29Book now
Vivid Blacklight party cruiseKing Street Wharf
  • Welcome drink
  • Finger food
3 hours$29Book now
Vivid cruise with Aboriginal Cultural performancePyrmontAboriginal Cultural performance2 hours$35Book now
Vivid Sydney Harbour cruiseKing Street Wharf
  • Live DJ
3 hours$39Book now
Vagabond Vivid cruiseKing Street Wharf or Circular Quay
  • Cocktail dinner
1.5 hours$39Book now
Vivid Sydney cruisePyrmont
  • Buffet dinner
  • Wine
2 hours$39Book now
Sydney Harbour Vivid cruiseDarling Harbour
  • Drinks
1 hour$45Book now
Small group vivid cruisePier 1Light refreshments1.5 hours$49Book now
Vivid cruise in glass vesselPyrmont
  • Welcome drink
2 hours$49Book now
Vivid cruise on CoastKing Street Wharf
  • Welcome drink
2 hours$50Book now
Vivid Sydney CruiseKing Street WharfBuffet dinner2 hours$55Book now
Vivid Festival cruise with iToursntixKing Street Wharf
  • Buffet dinner
  • Drinks
2 hours$55Book now
Vivid Sydney Cocktail cruiseKing Street Wharf or Circular Quay
  • Drinks
  • Buffet dinner
1.5 hours$69Book now
Vivid Festival cruisePyrmont
  • Drinks
2 hours$70Book now
Tall ship Vivid cruiseThe Rocks or Walsh Bay
  • Dinner
  • Live music
2 hours$79Book now
Vivid experience cruiseKing Street Wharf
  • Welcome drink
  • Buffet meal
2.5 hours$99Book now
Sydney Vivid luxury cruiseCircular Quay
  • Drinks
  • Snacks
1.5 hours$125Book now
Vivid Sydney private cruise for 4King Street Wharf
  • Private captain
  • Bottled water
1.5 hours$400 ($125 each)Book now
Private Vivid Sydney cruisePier 1Light refreshments1.5 hours$449Book now

Our top picks:

Best for overall experience:

Vivid Sydney Harbour Intimate cruise

Vivid Sydney Harbour Intimate cruise from Viator


  • 1.5-hour cruise aboard Kirralee or Nevaeh
  • With bread rolls and non-alcoholic beverage
  • BYO drinks
  • Price from $29

View details

Best for price (cheapest):

Vivid Festival cruise

Vivid Festival cruise from Groupon


  • 1.5-hour cruise
  • With glass of bubbly or a soft-drink
  • BYO dinner
  • Price from $15

View details

Best for a unique experience:

Tall ship Vivid cruise

Tall ship Vivid cruise from Viator


  • 2-hour cruise on a tall ship with illuminated masts
  • With dinner and live music
  • Price from $79

View details

Best for length:

Vivid Blacklight party cruise

Vivid Blacklight party cruise from Groupon


  • 3-hour cruise
  • Welcome drink
  • Finger food
  • Price from $29

View details

Best for extra inclusions:

Afloat Cruises weekend cruise

Afloat Cruises weekend cruise from Groupon


  • 2-hour cruise
  • Buffet dinner onboard
  • 2 glasses of sparkling wine or beer
  • Price from $39

View details

Latest deals on Vivid Sydney cruises:

Vivid Sydney cruises from $29

Deal expires

Valid on select dates from 25 May 2018 - 16 June 2018. Sample price is for a 90-minute, small-group BYO cruise. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Up to 60% off Vivid Sydney cruises

Deal expires

Valid from 25 May - 16 June 2018. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Vivid Sydney cruises from just $15

Deal expires

Valid on select sailings during Vivid from 25 May 2018 - 16 June 2018. $15 cruise includes a 1.5-2 hours sailing and dinner/drink included on select sailings.

Last verified

Vivid Sydney cruises

Every year, dozens of boats sail the harbour aglow with brightly coloured lights and become part of the Vivid Sydney display. Sydney Harbour Ferries get in on the action too. If you're hoping to join a boat tour during Vivid that participates, these are the official operators that have joined the festivities in the past.

  • Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Culture Cruise
  • Magistic Dinner Cruise
  • Sydney Showboat Dinner Cruise
  • Showboat Paddlewheel
  • Oz Jet Boating
  • Manly Fast Ferry
  • Sydney Cove Water Taxis
  • Sydney's First Fleet Ferries
  • Captain Cook Cruises
  • Sensational Sydney Cruises
  • Fantasea Cruising Sydney
  • Shadow Charters

Other Vivid Sydney activities

If you’re not tempted by a Vivid cruise consider joining a photography class, Vivid Ideas event or dining at a restaurant with views of the illuminations.

What do I need to know about Vivid Sydney and Vivid Sydney cruises?

How does Vivid Sydney work?

Being a free event throughout Circular Quay, The Rocks, Barangaroo and Darling Harbour (with smaller displays in other parts of the city), Vivid is a giant open-air gallery. It's a free event where you can walk around and see light-based displays and illuminations created by a range of artists. There are guides available and each attraction is signposted with explanations of what it is you're looking at.

Is Vivid Sydney free?

Yes, Vivid Sydney's displays are free to access. If you'd like to join a cruise or bridge climb, you'll need to pay for admission.

How long does Vivid Sydney go for?

While it's usually an 18-day event, this year the festival will be running for 23 days this year, from 25 May - 16 June 2018.

When did Vivid Sydney start?

Vivid Sydney has been lighting up the Sydney foreshore since 2008. It began as a light festival promoting energy efficiency with light paintings displayed on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

What time does Vivid Sydney start?

The Vivid Sydney light displays will be turned on at 6pm each night during the festival.

Do Vivid Sydney cruises go to Darling Harbour?

Yes. Most of the sightseeing cruises during Vivid depart from Darling Harbour or King Street Wharf, so you'll get the chance to wander around the area before and after your cruise. It's best to check with the operator you've booked your cruise with to see where and when you need to meet the boat.

Are there Vivid dinner cruises available?

There are a wide range of sightseeing cruise options available offering something for every budget. We've noted on each sailing above whether food or drink is included.

Are there many Vivid Sydney road closures?

Many roads leading toward Circular Quay and The Rocks are closed or restricted during the event. Given those limitations and the road closures along George Street it's recommended to take public transport to Vivid. There will be an increase number of public transport services available during the event and ferries will be illuminated from 6pm.

Can I do a Vivid Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb?

Yes! The twilight and night-time bridge climbs are available during Vivid and offer panoramic views of the harbour displays.

Do you have any tips on how to photograph Vivid Sydney?

If night photography isn't your forte, consider joining a night photography class prior to or during the festival to capture the best images.

What is next?

Image: Vivid Sydney

Alex Keshen

Alex takes care of the travel section here at If there's a new sale on tours or cruises, discounted flights or hotels, or anything else that can be on offer, she'll fill you in.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    kathJuly 1, 2017

    When does the Vivid Festival run from for 2018?

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 1, 2017

      Hi Kath!

      The announcement left on Vivid Sydney website is they will be opening later this year.

      Hope this helps.


  2. Default Gravatar
    April 29, 2017

    Hi wanted to know what cruises they have for vivid that is buffet dinner and dance floor DJ on board???

    • Staff
      LouMay 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your questions.

      All the cruises we have listed above except for 90-Minute Cruise with Sparkling Wine on a Sunday, Friday or Saturday and 2-hour cruise with canapés and drinks from LivingSocial, offer buffet dinner.

      However, upon checking the details, only the 2-hour cruise with cocktails and canapés which costs $29.00 offer buffer dinner and DJ. For more details, simply click the “view details’ button above.


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