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Cruises to Akaroa

4 Awards
Akaroa (Photo:Nonthachai Saksri/Shutterstock)

About Akaroa

Sailing up the strait into Port of Akaroa is a not-to-be-missed experience. The name is a Maori word that means 'long harbour' and with green towering hills topped with craggy rock from a long extinct volcano, the arrival is reminiscent of the approach to the Norwegian fjords -- simply stunning.

Akaroa has been an alternative port for Christchurch since the 2011 earthquake destroyed the pier at the much-closer Lyttelton Harbour. Until a new cruise ship facility opens in the 2020/21 summer season, many passengers undertake the 1.5-hour drive to Christchurch, the third largest city in New Zealand.

But there's a lot to be said for staying in Akaroa. The tiny town is a former French settlement that oozes Gallic charm, from its French street names to its pretty painted timber cottages that house an abundance of galleries, local crafts, coffee shops and restaurants.

Home to about 700 locals, Akaroa blossoms to a bustling 1,500 over the summer season -- and a cruise ship visit can double that.

There is something to suit all the family: swimming with dolphins, sailing, fabulous nature walks, penguin encounters, motorbike tours and historical walks are just a few of the activities on offer. The view of the harbour -- and your ship -- from the surrounding hilltops is worth the hike or drive.

History buffs will note the bust of Frank Worsley, the skipper of Shackleton's Endurance Antarctic Expedition, looking out to sea in the small waterfront park. The nearby Akaroa Museum has a Worsley exhibition, Salute to Adventure, as Akaroa was Worsley's home town.

If you are not one for tours you can just enjoy the quaint village, which takes about an hour to explore. Once that's done you are free to grab a coffee or glass of local wine, sit back and take in the picture-perfect vista of sparking harbour waters surrounded by green rolling hills.

  • More about Akaroa

  • Why go to Akaroa?

  • Akaroa Cruise Port Facilities?

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Silver Muse
Silver Muse

13 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

233 Reviews
Leaving:Melbourne
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Silver Muse
Silver Muse

14 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

233 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 18, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Azamara Quest
Azamara Quest

17 Night
Australia & New Zealand VoyageDetails

696 Reviews
Leaving:Melbourne
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jan 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seabourn Odyssey
Seabourn Odyssey

16 Night
New Zealand & Australia I IDetails

202 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
Dec 21, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

233 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 19, 2025
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Australia ProductDetails

2,072 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Australia ProductDetails

2,072 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jan 27, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
Australia/new Zealand VoyageDetails

794 Reviews
Leaving:Melbourne
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jan 4, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Australia ProductDetails

2,072 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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50 Night
World CruiseDetails

386 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Dec 22, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
South Pacific CruiseDetails

230 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Dec 20, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

233 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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13 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

215 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 29, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

386 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Jan 25, 2025
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

16 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

233 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Dec 20, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Akaroa

Why go to Akaroa?

Pros:

Pretty setting, interesting history and excellent nature experiences

Cons:

The small town takes only an hour to explore and additional tours can be expensive

Bottom Line:

An atmospheric former French settlement offering dolphin and penguin encounters

Akaroa Cruise Port Facilities?

Akaroa is a tender port and it is a just a couple of minutes' walk to the town centre. The wharf has places to book boat trips, tours and kayaks.

Good to Know?

Akaroa's pesky seagulls can be unrelenting if you are trying to enjoy your fish and chips on the waterfront.

Shuttle buses depart for Christchurch in the mornings, usually at 9.30 am and 10.30 am and return passengers to the wharf in time for their ship's departure.

Getting Around?

Akaroa is easily explored on foot. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the New Zealand dollar. The Bank of New Zealand has an Akaroa branch and an ATM (73 Rue Lavaud).

Language?

The language of New Zealand is English, spoken with a charming accent.


Akaroa Cruise Reviews
Have never been to Akaroa so was nice to have a look thru the quaint little shops and gift shops, have a walk around the water and enjoy some lunch. Bit of a wait to get back on the tender boat to get back to the SRead More
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jostoy
This is a beautiful location. We did our own thing as we had friends living in Akaroa. There is much to see around Akaroa and an organised excursion is worthwhile. The village of Akaroa itself is lovely with great giRead More
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kingle
This was a tender port. We picked up our tender tickets out by the pool right before heading into the buffet for breakfast. The timing was perfect as our number was called just as we finished eating. Cruisers who havRead More
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qqq266
Have toured Akaroa before, this time we just stretched our legs and had a lovely coffee as well as local pies from the hole in the wall The Coffee Stop around 100 metres from the wharf. Again great coffee and free Read More
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asdf1245

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