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Cruises to Sydney (Australia)

625 Reviews
8 Awards
Sydney, Australia (Photo:Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock)

About Sydney (Australia)

Sydney is a definite stop on every cruise that travels Down Under and often serves as a starting or ending point for ships that also travel to New Zealand. Australia's largest city, Sydney is one of the world's most intriguing ports of call, with its appeal extending from a sophisticated and vibrant urban metropolis to stunning natural wonders.

Although it is a modern city strongly influenced by British roots and current American popular culture, Sydney's real character is derived from its exotic location and brash beauty. Walking through the glass and concrete downtown, known as the Central Business District (CBD), you could be in any other Western-culture metropolis -- until a fluorescent red and green lorikeet parrot swoops overhead or an unexpected flash of the brilliant blue harbour appears between the skyscrapers.

Any proper visit to Sydney must begin in the harbour, which is both the birthplace of the city and its current iconic centrepiece. The area is called Circular Quay (pronounced "key" by locals). It is hard to imagine a more picturesque setting for a city's heart than this, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge displayed against the inlet's bright water.

Sydney spreads across a massive geographic area, but the majority of its most interesting areas can be found near the ocean coast in the area known as the Eastern suburbs, as well as in its delightful inner-city neighbourhoods, which each possess a distinct vibe. Oxford Street, the main thoroughfare running east from downtown to the ocean beaches, hosts Sydney's famous gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade each February and is popular year-round because of its bars and cafes.

Sydney is a well-balanced blend of a big city lifestyle and the laid-back Australian mentality. Although Aussies who hail from other towns often disparage Sydney for its flashiness and hectic pace, urban inconveniences seem minor here compared to places like New York and London (although the peak-hour traffic and public transport system are actually quite bad). Tourism is a huge industry around Sydney, and locals are accustomed to providing visitors with service, helpful directions and a rousing welcome to the stunning city that they call home.

  • More about Sydney (Australia)

  • Why go to Sydney (Australia)?

  • Sydney (Australia) Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Spirit

13 Night
South PacificDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Mar 28, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Silver Whisper
Silver Whisper

16 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

217 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 13, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Spirit

15 Night
South PacificDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Mar 28, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Spirit

15 Night
South PacificDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Tahiti
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Dec 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Azamara Club Cruises

26 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

666 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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27 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

1,721 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Sep 25, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Australia & New ZealandDetails

795 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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34 Night
South Pacific CrossingDetails

795 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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42 Night
World CruiseDetails

387 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Mar 10, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

17 Night
Tahitian Treasures CruiseDetails

2,165 Reviews
Leaving:Honolulu
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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31 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

666 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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20 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

1,721 Reviews
Leaving:Honolulu
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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18 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

718 Reviews
Leaving:Honolulu
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Oct 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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132 Night
132 Night World CruiseDetails

378 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Jan 6, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

16 Night
Komodo & The Australian CoastDetails

515 Reviews
Leaving:Bali
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Nov 13, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Sydney (Australia)

Why go to Sydney (Australia)?

Pros:

Arguably the world’s most spectacular harbor; Sydney Opera House lives up to the hype

Cons:

Expensive, especially for some tourist activities, dining and public transport

Bottom Line:

Forget the expense and make the most of Australia's iconic city

Sydney (Australia) Cruise Port Facilities?

The area around Circular Quay is delightful in itself, with some bars and eateries located in the actual terminal (open to the public), or you can meander along the waterfront to The Rocks and Sydney Opera House.

If your ship docks at White Bay, leave. There are absolutely no attractions, restaurants or services beyond the terminal.

Outside the main harbour, Darling Harbour is the city centre's premier tourist destination, with popular attractions like the Sydney Aquarium. There are taxis and public transportation to other parts of the city.

Getting Around?

Mass transit options abound from Circular Quay. Trains (there's a stop across from the terminal) are easily accessed. Buses also serve the city, and many depart a couple of minutes' walk from the Quay's terminal.

Taxis line up at the terminal. All accept credit cards, but rides are expensive. You can't get anywhere within the inner city for less than $20, and expect to pay at least $40 to get to the eastern. The Manly ferry is the best option for the northern beach suburbs. Water taxis are only for big spenders.

Rental car agencies such as Hertz, Budget and Avis have downtown Sydney locations. Rates start at around $55 per day, but unless you're planning to visit a spot that's not served by the city's public transport system, it's not worth the expense and effort.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the Australian dollar. ATMs are easily accessible all over the city. Money also can be exchanged at banks and bureaus. There is a currency exchange booth located in the main Circular Quay terminal, beneath the railway stop. The nearest bank is a St. George directly across from the main terminal at 20 Loftus Street.

Language?

English -- but be careful, because Aussies shorten everything when they speak. Breakfast becomes "brekkie," sunglasses are "sunnies," and a bathing suits are called "cozzies" (short for swimming costume!). Even the word afternoon gets turned into "arvo."

Where You're Docked?

Ships dock in two different spots, depending on size. Those that cannot fit underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge will find themselves tied up at the atmospheric and centrally located Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay, adjacent to the Rocks, Sydney's original old town. Smaller ships dock at White Bay, near the residential suburb of Balmain, about 20 minutes' drive from the city centre.

Those at Circular Quay are in the middle of everything. Water taxis, ferries, trains, cabs and buses all depart regularly from the wharf location. Those at White Bay will need to catch a shuttle or taxi to the city, as there is no public transport.

A third location for ships in the increasingly popular Sydney Harbour is a tender position out beyond the Sydney Opera House. Passengers are transported to shore via tender boats.


Sydney (Australia) Cruise Reviews
What can I say, Sydney is Sydney. One of the most beautiful and delightful cities in the world. The cruise port is right downtown with ferries and the subway just yards away. I spent a week in Sydney and it wasn’t enRead More
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Greg9542
We had two days in Sydney as Eden cancelled. Plenty to do and beautiful harbour, lots of ferry rides and bus rides. Went to Parramatta by ferry and back, Darling Harbour, Mosman by ferry. Went to Watsons Bay via BRead More
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Astro Boy
Departure great, left from circular Quay and all the beautiful highlights of Sydney right in front of you. on our return, disembarkation at White Bay. Always confusion with booked taxi drivers going to the rank and jRead More
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david the pirate
I've been to Sydney many times but not out to Cockatoo Island with its convict and shipbuilding relics. I bought an audio guide and around I went. They had an interesting display of old photos in Biloela House. BiloeRead More
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Yaya_in_Oz

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