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Cruises to Sydney (Australia)

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.

  • Why go to Sydney (Australia)?

  • Sydney (Australia) Cruise Port Facilities?

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Seven Seas Explorer
Seven Seas Explorer

14 Night
South Pacific CruiseDetails

227 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Dec 20, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Edge
Living room of the two-story Edge Villa suite in Celebrity Edge (Photo: Celebrity Cruises)

10 Night
New Zealand CruiseDetails

639 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Feb 15, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Majestic Princess
Majestic Princess TA Listings Page Image

25 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

652 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Sep 24, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Regatta
Regatta

21 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

383 Reviews
Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Nov 21, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

15 Night
Australia & New ZealandDetails

1,067 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 8, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

18 Night
Tahiti, Moorea & New ZealandDetails

1,861 Reviews
Leaving:Honolulu
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Oct 3, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

383 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Feb 13, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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51 Night
South Pacific Australia & New Zealand CollectorDetails

1,067 Reviews
Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
Fiji Transpacific CruiseDetails

2,136 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Apr 9, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

13 Night
New Zealand CruiseDetails

1,861 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Dec 20, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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36 Night
Grand World VoyageDetails

1,004 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Great Barrier Reef & IndonesiaDetails

1,067 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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26 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

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

652 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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77 Night
World CruiseDetails

383 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Oct 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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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
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
Sydney is bloody amazing. Simply breathtaking. Australia I love you all Read More
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Nicky Robinson
We toured Sydney on our own and with a private tour guide prior to boarding the shipRead More
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Povertu2
We live in Sydney so did not take an excursion. Sydney Harbour is always so beautiful and it was wonderful to spend the first afternoon onboard Ovations soaking up the magnificent view. Definitely the best harbourRead More
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ozpen

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