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Which Cruise Ships Are Sailing From Australia in 2023/2024?

Contributor
Louise Goldsbury

Last updated
Feb 5, 2024

Australia has seen the return of popular lines such as Carnival Australia, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Viking, Azamara, Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Line. Newcomers in 2023-2024 include Disney Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages and Windstar.

Luxury and expedition cruises also depart from Australian ports on smaller ships from the fleets of Silversea, Seabourn, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Ponant, APT, Coral Expeditions and, another newcomer, Swan Hellenic.

During the Kimberley cruise season, dozens of even smaller ships and yachts are based in Western Australia, while a few vessels offer adventures in the wilderness of Tasmania. On the Murray River, spanning Victoria and South Australia, paddle-steamers offer short river cruises.

There are plenty of great itineraries from our capital cities and regional hubs. When it comes to mainstream cruising, the top three destinations are the South Pacific islands, New Zealand and domestic cruises around Australia.

With so many cruise lines and ships sailing in Australia this year, your biggest decision will be which one to board first. Here's a list of Australia's most popular ports and upcoming sailings to help make your decision easier and provide inspiration for your next cruise holiday.

Cruises from Sydney in 2023

Carnival Australia

Ship: Carnival Splendor

Highlights: Have fun and unwind with lively shows, a huge spa, great kids' programming, pools and the Green Lightning waterslide on Carnival Splendor.

Itineraries: Sydney-based Carnival Splendor operates year-round cruises, from three to 12 nights, in Australia, the South Pacific and New Zealand.

Celebrity Cruises

Ships: Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Edge

Highlights: Stylish ships for lovers of good food, wine and cocktails and a lively evening scene with world-class productions, parties, circus-style acts and silent discos.

Itineraries: Celebrity Eclipse offers Australia, Pacific, and New Zealand sailings until April, with some themes cruises including gin, food and wine. Solstice will operate a one-way itinerary to Singapore in October. From December, the revolutionary Celebrity Edge’s inaugural four-month season in Australia kicks off with cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, Tasmania, New Zealand and Fiji.

Coral Expeditions

Ship: Coral Discoverer

Itinerary: On Boxing Day, Coral Discoverer will follow the yachts in the Sydney to Hobart Race and then explore the Tasmanian coastline prior to the ship’s arrival in Hobart on New Year’s Eve on this seven-night voyage.

Cunard

Ships: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2

Itineraries: Cunard offers a choice of cruises to Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmania, Fremantle, New Zealand or the South Pacific, as well as international cruises from Sydney ending in Singapore, Hong Kong, Port Kelang (Malaysia), Dubai, Southampton, Cape Town or New York.

Disney

Ship: Disney Wonder

Highlights: On its inaugural season in Australia, Disney Cruise Line brings an exciting experience for families, with Disney movies and musical productions, pools, waterslides, and a colourful variety of bars and restaurants on a 1,750-passenger ship.

Itineraries: From October 2023 to February 2024, Disney Wonder will offer short cruises to Eden (NSW South Coast), Tasmania, Melbourne and New Caledonia, from two to six nights.

Holland America Line

Ship: Noordam

HighlightsNoordam attracts a mature crowd who appreciate traditional touches such as daily afternoon tea served in the main dining room. While the ship has sailed in Australia before, it’s had a multimillion-dollar refurbishment since its last visit.

Itineraries: With longer itineraries from 10 to 25 nights, Noordam offers one-way or round-trip sailings to New Zealand, a South Australia cruise, and South Pacific crossings to Honolulu or Vancouver. Each year, Holland America’s season runs from October to April.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Sun
Norwegian Sun

Ship: Norwegian Sun

Highlights: Norwegian Sun replaces Norwegian Spirit for the season. The 1936-passenger ship had a bow-to-stern refurb in 2018.

Itineraries: Norwegian Sun offers Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific sailings during summer including two repositioning voyages via French Polynesia.

Oceania Cruises

Ship: Regatta

Highlights: This cosy, sociable ship carries just 684 passengers but offers plenty of activities, bars, and restaurants to keep passengers entertained. While there is no pressure to dress for dinner, the cuisine is five-star with dishes such as lobster and foie gras served on Versace plates.

ItinerariesRegatta will focus on summer sailings of 14 nights or more with a choice of Australia, Pacific, and New Zealand itineraries, including a 35-night circumnavigation.

P&O Cruises Australia

Ships: Pacific Explorer, Pacific Adventure

Highlights: Pacific Explorer has dual waterslides, lawn bowls, the P&O Edge Adventure Park, and two adults-only areas with plunge pools. Pacific Adventure is one of the line’s newest ships and includes plenty of family-friendly features like five-berth cabins, waterslides, and the P&O Edge Adventure Park, while suite guests get access to the Byron Beach Club, a top-deck retreat featuring a private pool.

Itineraries: Year-round, short and long options in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, including themed sailings like comedy, 80s, a Pride cruise in September and an Australian Open tennis cruise every January. On January 30, 2024, a new Indonesian itinerary visits Komodo Island and Bali before ending in Singapore.

Princess Cruises

Ships: Coral Princess, Majestic Princess, Grand Princess, Royal Princess

Itineraries: Princess offers a wide range of cruises around Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, before the ships leave Sydney in April for crossings to Hawaii, San Francisco or Vancouver. Majestic Princess returns to Sydney in October, offering a selection of cruises around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, while Island Princesswill visit as part of a world cruise. Departing June 4, 2023, Coral Princess will operate a 106-night world cruise, round-trip from Sydney, with shorter segments available to Dubai, New York or London. Coral, Majestic and Grand Princess return in October for the summer season, to be joined by Royal Princess until April 2024.

Coral Princess is currently sailing its first local season from Sydney.

MSC Cruises

Ship: MSC Magnifica

Highlights: Attracting passengers from around the world, this European-owned ship has family activities such as tennis, minigolf and bowling, Broadway-style entertainment, and fun venues including a casino, disco and 4D cinema.

Itineraries: MSC is bringing two ships to local waters in February as part of world cruises. MSC Poesia will visit Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Auckland, while MSC Magnifica will visit Auckland, Hobart, Sydney, Cairns and Darwin. Long sectors can be booked from Sydney to Rome, Barcelona and Genoa.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Ship: Seven Seas Explorer

Highlights: The 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer is known for destination-intensive exploration. This all-inclusive luxury ship attracts mature couples and multigenerational families.

Itineraries: After its first Asia-Pacific season this summer, Seven Seas Explorer returns in December for cruises along Australia’s east coast and to New Zealand, before a Singapore itinerary that visits Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Royal Caribbean

Ship: Ovation of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas

Highlights: The 4,180-passenger Ovation of the Seas returns for another Sydney season, packed with entertainment and activities such as indoor skydiving, dodgem cars and surfing in a wave pool. Half its size, Brilliance of the Seas arrives for the first time next summer.

Itineraries: For the summer season until April, Ovation of the Seas offers a combination of short break and longer cruises around Australia, South Pacific and New Zealand. The following season, from October 2023 to April 2024, Brilliance of the Seas will sail around Australia and New Zealand. Meanwhile Quantum of the Seas will be based in Brisbane for the first time, offering a mix of short sampler cruises, Queensland cruises and longer South Pacific cruises.

Seabourn

Ships: Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn

Highlights: Expect incredible dining experiences and personal, attentive service on a ship where tipping is neither required nor expected. Seabourn Odyssey is smaller than many other ships which means it can call at New Zealand ports like Waiheke Island and Oban.

Itineraries: In February, March, December and continuing into the 2023/24 summer, Seabourn Odyssey focuses on Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, with some one-way sailings between Sydney and Honolulu or Vancouver. In February 2024, Seabourn Odyssey and Sojourn will operate world cruises in the region, with options to cruise from Sydney to Asia or Alaska. Seabourn Sojourn visits Australia’s east and west coasts as part of a world cruise in March.

Silversea

Ships: Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper

Highlights: Silversea is an all-inclusive, all-suite cruise experience, with butler service for all guests.

Itineraries: Silver Shadow’s 139-night world cruise departed from Sydney in January. From December to March, Silver Shadow and Whisper will offer sailings to Tasmania, New Zealand, South Pacific and Asia.

Viking Ocean Cruises

Ships: Viking Orion, Viking Mars, Viking Neptune

Highlights: Viking offers a contemporary adults-only cruise experience. Stylish surrounds are complemented by a relaxed onboard atmosphere, and extras such as specialty dining and wine with dinner included in the fare.

Itineraries: Viking Orion and Mars sail one-way between Sydney and Auckland to showcase New Zealand ports throughout the summer cruise season, followed by Papua New Guinea and Indonesia cruises that continue through Asia to Alaska. Viking Neptune arrives in Australia in February as part of the line’s world cruise.

Cruises From Brisbane in 2023

Carnival Australia

Ship: Carnival Luminosa

Highlights: New to Australia this year, Carnival Luminosa is filled with fun venues such as cocktail and rum bars, a piano bar, comedy club, kids clubs, poolside movies, a relaxing spa and the adults-only Serenity retreat.

Itineraries: Based in the new Brisbane cruise terminal, Carnival Luminosa sails to the South Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Airlie Beach (Queensland) and the Great Barrier Reef. The ship also offers three-night ‘cruises to nowhere’.

P&O Cruises

Ship: Pacific Encounter

HighlightsPacific Encounter, which makes its Australian debut last year, includes plenty of family-friendly features like an indoor/outdoor pool area, games and parties. Suite guests can access the Byron Beach Club, an exclusive top-deck retreat with a private outdoor pool.

Itineraries: Pacific Encounter offers Australia itineraries, including themed sailings such as comedy and country music cruises, and longer trips to the South Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and New Zealand.

Princess Cruises

Ship: Coral Princess

Highlights: With fewer than 2,000 passengers, Coral Princess delivers a more intimate big ship cruising experience that’s ideal for travellers who don’t enjoy the high tech, high energy features on some of the newer mega ships.

Itineraries: Coral Princess is currently sailing on a wide range of itineraries within Queensland, to Tasmania, around Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific and Papua New Guinea. A 106-night world cruise round-trip from Brisbane departs in June, with a one-way option to sail on a 49-night sector from Brisbane to London.

Ship: Majestic Princess

Highlights: The 3,560-passenger Majestic Princess offers the signature Princess experience with a Chinese flair including a specialty restaurant with menus by a Michelin star-awarded chef.

Itinerary: In February, Majestic Princess will offer a 10-night Queensland cruise. In March, the ship will complete a 26-night circumnavigation of Australia and a 12-night Australia cruise from Brisbane to Fremantle in March 2023 with stops in Airlie Beach, Cairns, Darwin and Busselton.

Royal Caribbean

Ship: Quantum of the Seas

Highlights: Carrying more than 4,000 passengers, Quantum of the Seas made its Australian debut last year, and has similar features to those available on its sister ship, Ovation of the Seas (see below).

Itineraries: Quantum of the Seas offers various short breaks and longer cruises around Australia, South Pacific and New Zealand. In April, a trans-Pacific cruise sails one-way to Honolulu.

Cruises from Adelaide in 2023

Coral Expeditions

Ship: Coral Geographer

Highlights: Accommodating a maximum of 120 guests, Coral Geographer is a sister ship to Coral Adventurer, with some additional innovations such as six suites with panoramic glass-enclosed baths, expansive deck areas, and four indoor and outdoor bars.

Itineraries: In November and December, Coral Geographer has sold-out cruises from Adelaide that showcase South Australia’s national parks and 5,000 kilometres of largely deserted coastline.

Cunard

Ship: Queen Elizabeth

Highlights: Cunard's Queen Elizabeth harks back to the Golden Age of cruising. Traditions such as dressing up for dinner and afternoon tea served by white-gloved waiters are a quintessential part of the experience.

Itineraries: Departing March 1, Queen Elizabeth sails to Western Australia on a six-night cruise, with a longer 16-night itinerary available to Singapore.

P&O Australia

Ship: Pacific Explorer

Highlights: Based in Adelaide until April, Pacific Explorer offers plenty of fun with dual waterslides, lawn bowls, and the P&O Edge Adventure Park. The ship also has two adults-only areas, both with plunge pools.

Itineraries: Pacific Explorer offers sailings to Kangaroo Island, Western Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, as well as a three-night comedy cruise and an 80s theme ‘cruise to nowhere’.

Princess Cruises

Ship: Grand Princess

HighlightsGrand Princess is a casual-yet-elegant ship that offers an affordable and enjoyable cruise experience for couples and multigenerational groups.

Itineraries: From October, Grand Princess will offer round-trip cruises from to New Zealand, Melbourne, Queensland and a local itinerary to Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln and Philip Island.

Cruises from Broome in 2023

APT

Ship: Caledonian Sky

Highlights: With a maximum of 99 passengers, Caledonian Sky balances the spacious comfort of a traditional cruise ship and the intimacy of an expedition experience.

Itineraries: Australian company APT has sold out its 2023 season of Kimberley cruises from Broome to Darwin (and reverse) between May and September.

Coral Expeditions

Ships: Coral Geographer, Coral Discoverer, Coral Adventurer

Highlights: Coral Expeditions offers a small ship expedition experience for cruisers who like to stay active on holiday. The convivial onboard atmosphere, excellent dining and friendly Australian crew make for an enjoyable and memorable journey.

Itineraries: Between April and August, Coral Expeditions’ three ships specialise in round-trip Kimberley itineraries from Broome (and one-way itineraries from Darwin to Broome). In September and October, Coral Geographer will explore Western Australia’s coastline including Ningaloo and the Abrolhos Islands.

Ponant

Ships: Le Laperouse, Le Ponant, Le Soleal

Highlights: The luxurious 184-passenger Le Laperouse, 32-passenger Le Ponant and 284-passenger Le Soleal offer an all-inclusive expedition with a dash of French flair. Le Laperouse features a multisensorial underwater lounge, while Le Ponant is a three-masted sailing ship offering a truly unique cruise experience.

Itineraries: See the Kimberley and Rowley Shoals in style on weekly sailings between April and October.

Silversea

Ship: Silver Explorer

HighlightsSilver Explorer is a 144-passenger, all-inclusive vessel suited to adults seeking a luxury cruise experience.

Itineraries: Silver Explorer will offer one-way Kimberley sailings from Broome to Darwin (and reverse) between May and July.

Swan Hellenic

Ship: Minerva

Highlights: Launched in 2021, the elegant 152-passenger Minerva makes its Australian debut in 2023. Features include a sauna and an outdoor, heated pool.

Itineraries: Minerva will offer one-way Kimberley sailings from Broome to Darwin (and reverse) in July and August.

Cruises from Cairns in 2023

Coral Expeditions

Ship: Coral Discoverer

Highlights: With only 66 passengers, Coral Discoverer has a convivial onboard atmosphere, excellent dining and friendly Australian crew.

Itineraries: Coral Discoverer offers expeditions from Cairns to northern Australia’s Cape York and Arnhem Land (March), Great Barrier Reef (October and November) and Papua New Guinea (December).

P&O Cruises

Ship: Pacific Explorer

Highlights: Pacific Explorer has racing waterslides, lawn bowls, adventure activities such as abseiling on the ship, and two adults-only areas with pools.

Itineraries: Pacific Explorer has three cruises from Cairns to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Norfolk Island and Auckland.

Ponant

Ships: Le Laperouse, Le Soleal

Itineraries: After sailing from Auckland in February, Le Laperouse has a cruise from Cairns to Papua New Guinea before returning in November for a cruise to Brisbane via Queensland’s islands. Le Soleal embarks on two Papua New Guinea expeditions in November.

Silversea

Ship: Silver Explorer

Itineraries: In February, Silver Explorer has departures from Cairns to Japan or Singapore. In May, the ship has a sold-out expedition across the top of Australia to the Kimberley. In September, a one-way cruise sails to Fiji, before a cruise from Cairns to New Zealand in November.

Swan Hellenic

Ship: Minerva

Itineraries: Departing in August, Minerva will offer a 17-night Melanesian cruise to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji islands.

Windstar

Ship: Star Breeze

Highlights: On its inaugural season in Australia, the 312-passenger, all-suite Star Breeze has recently added new dining venues, a new spa and an infinity pool.

Itineraries: In February, Star Breeze will sail from Cairns to Indonesia and the Great Barrier Reef, before returning in December for another cruise down the east coast to Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand.

Cruises From Darwin in 2023

APT

Ship: Caledonian Sky

Highlights: The 99-passenger Caledonian Sky is a more traditional style of expedition cruise ship aimed at older travellers.

Itineraries: Australian company APT has sold out its 2023 season of Kimberley cruises from Darwin to Broome (and reverse) between May and September.

Coral Expeditions

Ships: Coral Geographer, Coral Discoverer, Coral Adventurer

Itineraries: Between April and October, Coral Expeditions has limited availability on its weekly Kimberley cruises to Broome.

Ponant

**Ships: Le Laperouse, Le Soleal ** Itineraries: From May to September, both ships offer one-way Kimberley cruises from Darwin to Broome. In October, Le Laperouse has an Indonesian expedition from Darwin to Benoa (Bali).

Silversea

Ship: Silver Explorer

Itineraries: Silver Explorer will offer one-way Kimberley sailings from Darwin to Broome in June and July, and an expedition to Cairns in September that visits islands in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Swan Hellenic

Ship: Minerva

Itineraries: Minerva will operate Kimberley cruises from Darwin in July and August, followed by a 10-night Arnhem Land and Great Barrier Reef cruise.

Cruises From Melbourne in 2023

Azamara

Ship: Azamara Journey, Azamara Pursuit

Highlights: Both ships carry 694 passengers and offers immersive itineraries and a friendly onboard vibe.

Itineraries: On January 4, 2024, Azamara Journey and Azamara Pursuit both depart from Melbourne and sail via Sydney and Eden before cruising to New Zealand.

Cunard Line

Ship: Queen Elizabeth

Itineraries: After its Australian circumnavigation, Queen Elizabeth offers a choice of short and long cruises in Australia and New Zealand from January to March, before returning in December for more sailings until March 2024. A one-way sailing to Singapore departs in February 2023.

Disney Cruise Line

Ship: Disney Wonder

Highlights: On its inaugural season in Australia, Disney Cruise Line brings a new experience of family-friendly entertainment, with Disney movies and live musical productions such as ‘Frozen’, pools and water playgrounds, and a wide variety of bars and restaurants on a 1,750-passenger ship.

Itineraries: From November 2023 to February 2024, Disney Wonder offers three-night ‘cruises to nowhere’ and short sailings to Hobart or Adelaide, plus a one-way, five-night sailing to Auckland.

P&O Cruises

Ship: Pacific Explorer

Highlights: Pacific Explorer offers plenty of fun with dual waterslides, lawn bowls, and the P&O Edge Adventure Park. The ship also has two adults-only areas, both with plunge pools.

Itineraries: Pacific Explorer offers cruises in Australia and New Zealand in January, Feburary and December, including themed sailings such as comedy, Elvis, and 80s cruises, with sailings continuing through to the 2024 summer.

Princess Cruises

Ship: Grand Princess

Itineraries: From October, Grand Princess will be based in Melbourne offering Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific cruises until April 2024.

Silversea

Ship: Silver Muse

Highlights: The luxurious 596-passenger ship includes butler service, drinks and shore excursions.

Itineraries: Silver Muse spent January sailing in Australia and New Zealand and will return in February 2024 for a month-long cruise from Melbourne to Bali.

Virgin Voyages

Ship: Resilient Lady

Highlights: This new, adults-only ship, launching in May 2023, comes to Australia in summer. Expect immersive entertainment, lively parties and accommodation ranging from retro-styled solo cabins to RockStar suites. A basic drinks package, Wi-Fi and fitness classes are included in fares.

Itineraries: Resilient Lady will be based in Melbourne from December 2023 until March 2024. Virgin’s Aussie MerMaiden cruise heads to Burnie and Hobart, and will be followed by more Australia and New Zealand itineraries (one-way and round-trip).

Windstar

Ship: Star Breeze

Highlights: On its inaugural season in Australia, the newly renovated 312-passenger all-suite ship has new dining venues, a new spa and an infinity pool.

Itineraries: Star Breeze will sail from Melbourne to the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns, Port Douglas, Thursday Island, Darwin and Indonesia.

Cruises From Perth (Fremantle) in 2023

Azamara

Ship: Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest

Highlights: Both ships carry just under 700 passengers and offers a boutique yet affordable cruise experience with immersive itineraries and a friendly onboard vibe.

Itineraries: In February, Azamara Quest is scheduled to operate a 16-night Asian itinerary to Hong Kong. In December, Azamara Journey will sailing along the southern coast of Australia to Melbourne, followed by Australia and New Zealand itineraries until February 2024.

Coral Expeditions

Ship: Coral Geographer, Coral Adventurer

Itineraries: Both ships will explore Western Australia’s Coral Coast including Ningaloo Reef and the Abrolhos Islands in February and March, repeating in the same months in 2024. Coral Geographer will also sail across the Great Australian Bight to Adelaide in October.

Cunard Line

Ship: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2

Highlights: Cruising on Cunard's Queens is a grand occasion with traditions such as gala nights with formal dress codes, and different restaurants for different classes of passengers, based on your cabin category.

Itineraries: Queen Elizabeth and the QM2 will offer multiple cruises from Fremantle ranging from six to 40 nights including local cruises to Melbourne and Sydney and one-way sailings to Singapore, Cape Town, New York or Southampton.

P&O Cruises Australia

Ship: Pacific Explorer

Highlights: Pacific Explorer has dual waterslides, lawn bowls, and the P&O Edge Adventure Park. The ship also has two adults-only areas, both with plunge pools.

Itineraries: In April and May, the ship will offer separate cruises to the Kimberley, Exmouth and a five-night trip to view the hybrid solar eclipse that will track over WA’s North West Cape.

Princess Cruises

Ship: Coral Princess

Itineraries: In March and April, Coral Princess will offer long cruises around Australia including a full circumnavigation.

Silversea

Ship: Silver Explorer

Itineraries: Departing August 26, Silver Explorer will sail one-way from Fremantle to Darwin, stopping along the west coast.


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