Cruise to New Zealand

MS Noordam cruising along the New Zealand coastline

New Zealand Cruises: Your guide to cruising the land of the long while cloud

  • Drone shot of a Princess Cruises ship
  • Drone shot of a Princess Cruises ship surrounded by mountains
  • A lady hiking through the New Zealand countryside

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Frequently asked questions

There are around a dozen main cruise ports in New Zealand, spread across the North and South islands. Here are some of the most popular: 


The largest city in New Zealand is packed with great restaurants, buzzy bars and designer shops, while untouched forest, volcanic peaks and beautiful beaches sit just on the fringes. 


New Zealand’s compact capital is home to Te Papa, the immersive national museum, and Wētā Workshop, famous for creating movie magic. 


After it was flattened by an earthquake in 1931, Napier was rebuilt as the Art Deco Capital of the World.  

Tauranga & Rotorua 

Tauranga is the gateway to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua where you can soak in the relaxing thermal waters, watch huge geysers erupt and admire the bubbling mud pools. 

Bay of Islands 

A little slice of tropical island paradise at the far north of the North Island. Cruise ships stop at Paihia and the historic town of Russell, New Zealand’s first capital city.  


Completely rebuilt and revitalised since the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, Christchurch is packed with outdoor art, lush gardens and bustling markets.  

Dunedin & Port Chalmers 

Dunedin is New Zealand’s centre of architectural heritage, with grand Victorian and Edwardian edifices built on money from the gold rushes of the 1860s. 

Marlborough Sounds 

Visit the wineries of Blenheim that have made the name Marlborough synonymous around the world with top-notch sauvignon blanc.  

Fiordland National Park 

One of the most dramatic and beautiful places in New Zealand, Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage-listed wonder, home to Milford Sound, Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound. 

The main cruise season is during the warmer months between October and April, which is summer and early autumn in New Zealand. A few ships still visit New Zealand during the shorter winter season, though you’ll need to be prepared for some chilly temperatures.

Yes, many of the larger cruise ships have kids’ clubs, facilities like games rooms and waterslides, and activities tailored specially for kids and families. You’ll find that a lot of the shore excursions on offer in New Zealand are ideal for families too, from cycling to adventure sports and movie tours.

Cruises offer a mix of international dishes and New Zealand specialties, often including lamb, seafood, and Kiwi wines. Many cruise ships will restock as they sail around New Zealand, so you’ll get the chance to try local ingredients.

Yes, there are several lines offering adult’s only cruises to New Zealand, so you can enjoy a more serene and relaxed holiday. Try Viking, Virgin Voyages and Scenic.

Cruises can range from seven days to three weeks, depending on the itinerary. The standard length for a New Zealand cruise from Sydney or Brisbane is around 14 days, which will give you enough time to explore both the North and South islands.

You’ll find exciting excursions waiting for you in every port, from authentic Maori encounters to adventures in nature, food and wine tastings, or unique Kiwi cultural experiences. Art lovers will want to visit the excellent Auckland Gallery and history buffs will enjoy the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands, where New Zealand’s founding documents were signed. Connect with Maori culture at the ornate Tikitiki Church, during a traditional hangi feast and through dance performances. Sample New Zealand’s best drops on Waiheke Island off the coast of Auckland, around Hawke’s Bay near Napier or around Gisborne, known as the Chardonnay Capital of the World. Thrillseekers will relish the chance to bungee jump off Auckland Harbour Bridge, base jump from top of Sky Tower, kayak with dolphins in the Bay of Plenty or take a helicopter flight over White Island.

This depends on the nationality on your passport. Australian citizens do not need a visa to visit New Zealand. If you are a citizen of a different country boarding a cruise in Australia, be sure to check with your relevant government authority, and ensure you have the correct visas for both Australia and New Zealand.

Many cruises offer themed nights, live music, dance performances and informative lectures related to New Zealand and your upcoming ports. Maori culture is an integral part of everyday life in New Zealand, so expect to experience some traditional dance and music.

The weather in New Zealand can be unpredictable and even during the summer months you can expect some cool days. It’s a good idea to pack layered clothing, a rain jacket, comfortable walking shoes and sun protection. If you’re cruising in winter, you’ll need to pack warm! 

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*Travel restrictions & conditions apply. Review any specific conditions stated and our general terms at Terms and Conditions. Prices & taxes are in NZD and are correct as at the date of publication & are subject to availability and change without notice. Prices quoted are on sale until the dates specified unless otherwise stated or sold out prior. Prices are per person.