7 Must-Take New Zealand Cruises for Every Type of Traveler

A New Zealand cruise is an ideal option for discovering the country, since most itineraries include stops to explore its world-famous natural splendor along with popular cities, such as Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, giving you the best of both worlds.

Cruise options range from short four-day tasters to multi-week adventures that combine New Zealand with other destinations like Australia, various South Pacific islands and Southeast Asia. The growing popularity of New Zealand as a cruise destination has led to an increase in offerings from cruise lines, from mainstream to ultra-luxury, in recent years as well.

With so many itineraries and cruise lines available, choosing the right one to cruise to New Zealand can be difficult. To help you pick the New Zealand cruise for you, we have selected the top options based on your travel companions and personal interests.

Royal Caribbean: The Cruise Line for Families Planning to Cruise to New Zealand

Royal Caribbean is renowned for catering to families with children of all ages. With its multiple kids’ clubs, entertainment programs for teens, and a wide variety of family-friendly cabins and suites, Royal Caribbean is an excellent pick for those traveling with children to New Zealand (and other destinations).

But it’s not only about the onboard amenities. Royal Caribbean’s itineraries combine urban and nature-based ports, making them appealing to all ages and tastes. Beaches, fjords, mountains and cities are all included over a few days, catering equally to families craving some beach time, active travelers looking to hike and culture enthusiasts wanting to learn more about local art, history and music.

Our Pick: Currently, Royal Caribbean has Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas plying the waters Down Under. They are very similar in terms of features and amenities, but Quantum’s itineraries typically include additional and more varied ports.

Norwegian Cruise Line: A New Zealand Cruise for Solo Travelers

Staterooms are typically priced based on double occupancy, making cruising an unaffordable option for solo travelers. Norwegian was one of the first cruise lines to cater to those traveling by themselves, offering interior, oceanview and balcony cabins for one, cutting both costs and frustration.

Solo travelers also get free access to a private lounge where happy hours, activities and casual gatherings are hosted daily. It’s a great way to meet other passengers traveling solo, to make new friends and oftentimes, create groups with which to book shore excursions.

A New Zealand cruise with Norwegian will more often than not depart from Australia, where it will call at a couple of cities at least before making its way to Dunedin and then north along the New Zealand coast. Other itineraries will do the same route backwards, starting in Auckland.

Our Pick: Norwegian Spirit offers three solo cabin categories: inside, oceanview (with a porthole) and balcony. All have the same amenities as a double-occupancy cabin in the same category, including a full bathroom, storage space and a desk. The ship was refurbished in 2022 and is in excellent shape, with modern decor and plenty of nice touches.

Silversea: A New Zealand Cruise for Couples Looking to Splurge

Silversea offers some of our favorite New Zealand cruises for those looking to spend some quality time with their significant other. Itineraries often combine New Zealand with Australia and other South Pacific destinations, and include multiple sea days, allowing for a more relaxed, immersive experience with unique shore excursions.

Days in port are longer than in mainstream cruise lines, with at least 10 hours docked and sometimes — like in Picton and Napier — up to 16 hours. Stops in Tasmania are typically overnights and include nighttime activities in Hobart.

Silversea is one of the few cruise lines that can truly claim to be in the high-end luxury category. Its vessels are elegant yet understated, catering to couples seeking a relaxing, upscale experience with outstanding service. All-inclusive rates cover world-class food and drinks in most onboard restaurants and bars, as well as gratuities, 24-hour room service and fitness classes.

Our Pick: The 596-passenger, 411-crew Silver Muse is hands down one of the best ultra-luxe ships around. All of its cabins are suites with balconies (except for a handful of oceanview units) that offer top-notch amenities, free butler service and wonderful bathrooms with full-sized bathtubs. Service is outstanding, as is the food.

Princess Cruises: The Best New Zealand Cruise for Those Looking to Learn About the Culture

Princess Cruises offers a unique opportunity to discover New Zealand with its “Across the Ditch” program. This immersive experience provides guests with interactive onboard and shore activities that showcase regional culture and cuisine, from wine tastings to traditional dance lessons and lectures.

While other cruise lines may offer a wide range of standard shore excursions, Princess passengers will be provided with a stellar list of authentic experiences, including Maori arts tours, bush and beach eco tours in Auckland, food-themed excursions with local chefs and haka lessons.

Our Pick: Of all the Princess ships offering New Zealand cruises, Discovery is our favorite. It’s comfortable, classy and more modern than the rest of the vessels.

Viking Ocean Cruises: A Cruise to New Zealand Only for Adults

Viking is one of the few cruise lines offering adult-only ships. Its vessels are modern, comfortable and all-inclusive, offering a fun, hassle-free experience to those looking to cruise to New Zealand only with passengers who are 18 and over — and often older than 55.

While the focus is on the destination, these cruise ships also offer excellent amenities, from spas to planetariums, and a wide variety of included restaurants. All cabins have balconies, allowing for panoramic views even from entry-level staterooms.

Viking’s Down Under itineraries are longer than your standard New Zealand cruise, often spanning up to four weeks and combining ports like Wellington, Dunedin and Napier with Australia and Indonesia. They are smaller ships, which means they can call at ports or sail through areas that are off-limits to larger vessels, offering a unique experience.

Our Pick: Built in 2018, Viking Orion is a top-notch vessel with all the bells and whistles of larger luxury cruise ships, such as multiple specialty dining restaurants (all included in the rate), a fabulous spa, a well-equipped gym and a full entertainment program.

Azamara: The Best New Zealand Cruises for Those Seeking Personalized Service

Azamara is known for its small vessels offering longer itineraries that combine New Zealand and Australia and cover up to 12 ports in about 16 days. Shore excursions are an important part of the experience, with a huge offering that ranges from guided bush walks to tuk-tuk tours and racing yacht sailings. Free shuttle service is available if the port is far from the city center.

Passengers will typically embark in Melbourne and spend a few days cruising Australia before crossing to New Zealand. Azamara cruises call at all the top ports, as well as at those that larger vessels can’t access, offering a unique experience that is appealing even to those who have already been to the region.

These cruises are popular with passengers in their mid- to late 50s who value the cruise line’s destination offerings and friendly, personalized service over cutting-edge technologies and over-the-top amenities.

Our Pick: Azamara Pursuit is one of our favorite small cruise ships for longer itineraries, considering its mellow vibe, friendly service, comfortable cabins and solid dining options.

Seabourn: The Best Long Cruises to New Zealand and Beyond

Those looking to embark on a long journey can’t go wrong with Seabourn. While New Zealand itineraries start at 14 days in length, the cruise line specializes in big adventures spanning multiple weeks (or even months) and covering multiple countries along the way. Australia, Indonesia, the Pitcairn Islands, the Philippines, Chile, and Polynesia are only some of the destinations included.

One of the best itineraries goes from Los Angeles to Sydney by way of Hawaii, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue and Tonga. It takes 46 days to cover the thousands of miles between the U.S. and Australia, and the experience is one not to be missed.

Seabourn ships are luxurious through and through, service is typically stellar and food is outstanding across the fleet. With semi-inclusive rates that cover all gratuities, most drinks, and self-service laundry, passengers can experience a hassle-free vacation of a lifetime.

Our Pick: The 458-passenger Seabourn Quest is the ship to book for these adventures. It features a beautiful pool, a bar offering stunning views and multiple fabulous dining options. Even entry-level cabins are full-sized suites with separate bedrooms and living areas.

Set sail on a voyage of discovery with CruiseShip.net – your ultimate destination for all things cruising! Explore the latest news, insightful reviews, and thrilling cruising adventures from around the globe. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-time traveler, CruiseShip.net is your go-to source for expert advice, insider tips, and inspiring stories to fuel your wanderlust. Embark on a journey like no other with CruiseShip.net – where every wave brings new excitement and endless possibilities on the high seas.

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