22/04/2024

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Sydney Harbor Cruises – A Great Way to Experience Sydney

Sydney Harbor Cruises – A Great Way to Experience Sydney

When in Sydney, a boat trip on the Harbor is a must and Sydney Harbor cruises offer a chance to get out on the water and an excellent array of alternative ways to experience the Harbor.

Companies that offer services include the large and well known, the smaller boutique, themed ones and specialist party-cruise operators.

The cruises include site-seeing, dining, private hire and special event cruises for Australia Day, Christmas Day, New Years, and the like. The price and lengths of the cruises vary.

The popular site-seeing cruise routes generally stay east of Sydney Harbor Bridge. The main sites that are seen include Sydney Opera House, Sydney Cove, Fort Denison, Woolloomooloo, Taronga Zoo, Kirribilli House, the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Luna Park.

Journeys that remain on the Harbor for longer periods may also move further east, taking in Rose Bay, Watsons Bay, Manly and Middle Harbour. They can also run west of the Harbor Bridge past sites including Cockatoo Island and Darling Harbor.

Commentary is given on site-seeing cruises. Some of the larger boats have GPS automated commentary that is played over speakers as you pass points of interest. Other cruises companies give live commentary by a tour operator.

Sydney Harbor Cruise Alternatives

Magnetic, Captain Cook and Matilda Cruises

Majestic, Captain Cook and Matilda Cruises are some of the larger companies that operate cruises on the Harbor. These operators have lots of boats of all shapes and sizes and they are easily identified on the Harbor and at Circular Quay.

The companies are very popular with tourists and with tourism companies, running site-seeing only cruises which are basically ‘no frills’ trips around the Harbor and usually take no more than an hour (prices range from AUD$30 to AUD$50).

These companies also offer dining cruises which can include morning and afternoon tea, evening cocktails, lunch (prices range from AUD$50 to AUD$100) and dinner (prices range from AUD$50 to AUD$200). The cruises usually last 2 to 4 hours.

A bar is available on the cruises for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Lunch and dinner cruises can include unlimited alcohol packages for extra cost.

Also offered are special event cruises. These are a popular choice for the fantastic festive feeling that Sydney Harbor can afford. The cruise time for special event cruises is usually around 3 to 6 hours.

Captain Cook and Matilda Cruises offer ferry and attraction ‘saver’ tickets. These offer either 24 or 48 hour hop-on hop-off ferry services to many Harbor attractions and destinations, or ferry-plus-attraction-entry on the one ticket which saves up to 20% of the total cost.

Boutique Cruise Companies

Sydney Harbor Cruises, Prestige Cruises and Vagabond Cruises also offer site-seeing-plus-dining experiences, party cruises or private hire packages. They are smaller in size and offer a more intimate experience. The price range is similar to that of the larger companies.

Themed Cruises

Sydney Tall Ships and The Tribal Warrior (run by Captain Cook Cruises) offer an experience in a vessel from days gone by or one with traditional indigenous Australians as your guide:

– Sydney Tall Ships operate a themed cruise on a wooden replica tall ship from the 1800’s called the Southern Swan. They run dining, special event and private hire cruises.

– The Tribal Warrior offers an indigenous perspective of the sites in and around Sydney Harbor. The highlight of the voyage occurs at Clark Island where you will be a guest at a traditional indigenous ceremony.

Price range again is similar to that of the larger and boutique companies.

Party Cruises

Rhythm Boat runs all sorts of party cruises featuring comedy, salsa, rock n roll, Abba and Bollywood nights, and also run cruises for special events and private hire.

Stealth Cruises specialize in offering hens’ party cruises, and Bucks Cruises are – you guessed it – are dedicated to providing bucks party cruises.

These cruises usually last around 4 to 6 hours and can be much longer depending on the conditions of hire. Prices are per head, ranging from AUD$60 to AUD$130. Some cruises can have unlimited alcohol included in the price.

One last tip…

It is worth spending some time shopping online for cruises. Prices are generally discounted making them cheaper than the price available from the ticketing windows at Circular Quay or other tourist shops. I recently saved 30% this way on a site-seeing cruise through Majestic Cruises.

Sydney Harbor is one of the world’s best-known harbors. Choosing one of the many different types of Sydney Harbor cruises is an excellent way of enjoying the sites whilst also taking in the vibe of being on the water.