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Cruises to Akaroa

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.

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DAY 1: Auckland

10 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
2,144 Ship Review
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DAY 1: Melbourne

13 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Melbourne
Visiting:
Fjordland, Dunedin ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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DAY 1: Sydney

14 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Sydney
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Burnie, Melbourne ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Auckland

30 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Paihia, Gisborne ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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13 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Melbourne
Visiting:
Fjordland, Dunedin ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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126 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Dubrovnik, Catania ...
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Cruise Line:
Costa Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Melbourne, Burnie ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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119 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Malaga, Casablanca ...
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Cruise Line:
Costa Cruises
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100 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Melbourne
Visiting:
Dunedin, Akaroa ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Melbourne
Visiting:
Sydney, Eden ...
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Cruise Line:
Azamara
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14 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Paihia, Tauranga ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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13 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Paihia, Auckland ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Eden, Burnie ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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117 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Genoa, Marseille ...
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Cruise Line:
Costa Cruises
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113 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Malaga, Casablanca ...
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Cruise Line:
Costa Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Eden, Melbourne ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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16 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Nelson ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Hobart, Fjordland ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

27 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Melbourne
Visiting:
Dunedin, Akaroa ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Wellington ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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18 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Melbourne
Visiting:
Fiorldand, Dunedin ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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32 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Melbourne, Burnie ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Eden, Hobart ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Akaroa

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Napier ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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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.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations
  • 2017 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations
  • 2016 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations

Akaroa Cruise Reviews

kingle
Sail Date: Dec 2019
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... Read More
jostoy
Sail Date: Jan 2020
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... Read More
asdf1245
Sail Date: Dec 2019
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
qqq266
Sail Date: Jan 2020
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... Read More
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