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Thrak

Sydney vs Melbourne

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Looking at a fairly long B2B2B or a B2B in 2020. One is out round trip out of Sydney and the other is round trip out of Melbourne. We're definitely leaning toward Melbourne as it is significantly less expensive and we aren't exactly wealthy. Is there a significant difference as far as choosing which one to cruise from? The Melbourne cruise is 3 in a row that all return to Melbourne and are on the same ship so we could book a single cabin for all 3. The one out of Sydney is on two different ships with a day in between cruises. I've been told that Sydney is "more desirable" but I have no idea why and have never been to Australia.

 

Additionally I am wondering about EZ Air costs from California to Australia round trip. Does anybody have experience with this? I know that for our flight this fall from California to London EZ Air is a bit less than 10% of any other site for our Virgin Atlantic flights so I'm obviously considering EZ Air for Australia but have no way of even guessing at fares.

 

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated as, like I said, we are total noobs as far as Australia is concerned. (For that matter, our flight this fall to London will be our first international flight...)

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Sydney or Melbourne,mmmm?

 I’d say Sydney. Even though I live in Sydney , it does have the wow factor of Sydney harbour ,and it is impressive.

Melbourne as a city does have more cultural and is a lovely place but doesn’t have as good a harbour.

To get the best experience you need to spend time outside the cities and see some of rural Australia.one city isn’t much different to any in the world.

As for flights 

qantas,United,virgin,delta and American fly none stop.

Air NZ are usually very competitive but you will have to stop in Auckland.

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Thrak, I think the decision will come down to where the cruises you are considering go to. As Chiliburn said Sydney has it's harbour but it will depend on what you consider the most important. Melbourne, where I live is considered the cultural capital of Australia. It has great cafes and restaurants. I would suggest that you do some research on both Melbourne and Sydney plus the ports where the respective cruises sail to and make your decision based on what you find suits you best. Melbourne's port is not in the central business district (CBD) as Sydney's is, it is a few kilometres away but there is a tram which takes you directly into the CBD and there will be taxis and maybe even shuttle buses. 

 

Check some of the threads on this board about the two cities. 

 

I have only considered Ez Air once which was a flight back to Melbourne in 2015 from Singapore. It was cheaper to book Qantas ourselves. Check the fares from LA to Sydney/Melbourne and then see how much it is with Ez Air. 

 

Enjoy your trip to Australia whatever your choice of cruises ends up being. 

 

Leigh

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Can’t argue with what either of the others have said, are you spending land time as well or just cruising?

 

Sydney harbour is one of the world’s great harbours, both cities have a lot to offer on land.

 

the fact that on one cruise you can book one cabin is, to me anyway attractive.

 

What are 5he various itineraries that may sway the advice you get?

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Giving a local analogy, Sydney may be closer to San Fran, whereas Melbourne is a bit harder, but say perhaps Washington DC (though less political emphasis). Both nice cities, but each with their own character. Many US visitors would visit both for the differences though.

 

Agree that it’s very likely that you will get better deals on Melbourne cruises, this is because most international visitors go to Sydney. It also has the larger population and importantly in a cruising sense is closer to more destinations. You may find some itineraries out of Melbourne have more sea days, though it depends on how the itinerary is structured.

 

As far as flights, you will probably find low pricing also extends to Melbourne, or at least it isn’t any more costly, despite being further away.

 

So in a financial sense, I’d agree it’s likely to be cheaper via Melbourne – and shouldn’t materially change the experience, aside from which cities you visit.

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I would go by the itineraries. Yes, Sydney is a gorgeous port (I'm lucky, I live there) but if any of the Melbourne B2B2B itineraries includes a port stop in Sydney then you'd have that covered without necessarily embarking there. So choose based on what places you want to visit and what you can afford. 

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Posted (edited)

I would further suggest to see some of country Australia.

As big M said  sydney -san Francisco ,Melbourne Vancouver.

But what about the little towns in between????

Edited by Chiliburn

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5 hours ago, The_Big_M said:

Giving a local analogy, Sydney may be closer to San Fran, whereas Melbourne is a bit harder, but say perhaps Washington DC (though less political emphasis). Both nice cities, but each with their own character. Many US visitors would visit both for the differences though.

Interestingly, I haven’t been to the US but have read numerous articles where Melbourne is likened to San Fransisco or Seattle. Sydney has been likened to LA or NY. 

 

Leigh

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3 hours ago, possum52 said:

Interestingly, I haven’t been to the US but have read numerous articles where Melbourne is likened to San Fransisco or Seattle. Sydney has been likened to LA or NY. 

 

Leigh

Sydney and Hell A doesn’t have much in common.only traffic. 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Thrak,

I've been reading many of your posts for years. 

 

Australia and NZ is all new to us and very likely our only trip Down Under, coming from east coast Canada. Following are comments from my research, that's not perfect or done, and personal views in spite of not having visited yet!

 

After sailing on many Princess ships, I decided to be a cruise ship junkie and looked for cruises on the Majestic (have sailed on Regal) for Jan & Feb 2020. I found a B2B2B RT from Sydney: NZ, Fiji, Tasmania. We don't want to travel for more than six weeks so, rather than add a land portion on either end, we dropped the Fiji cruise as we felt we wouldn't have gone so far and not seen enough of Australia. While the ship goes to Fiji for 14 days, we'll have 7 days in hotels split between Melbourne and Sydney and a 7-day S. Australia cruise from Melbourne on the Golden. We'll need to fly to Melbourne RT from Sydney but it appears to be inexpensive (compared to Canadian airlines) and a short flight.  The simple choice would have been to stay on the ship... we'll be in the same cabin on the Majestic for the first and third cruises. Not sailing on the middle cruise will give us a break from eating too much... eating out in Australia is expensive so we'll be 'dieting' between cruises! lol  We're not exactly wealthy either, very fortunate to cruise.

 

My research told me that Sydney might be more fun because of location of the cruise terminal in relation to the city, the harbour ferries for Manly and easy DIY trips such as the Blue Mountains and maybe a winery. We'll have time to walk across the Sydney bridge and tour the Opera House. From Melbourne, we'll have time for at least part of the scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road. Melbourne has a great free trolley that takes you around town. Another highlight will be the Penguin Parade on Philip Island, and the Tasmania cruise takes us back to Melbourne for a day.

 

We always book with a travel agent. We're using EZair to fly to Sydney and will have two nights before the first cruise to start adjusting to the time difference. We found EZair flights (one-way to the first cruise and one-way after the last cruise that was arranged by our agent) that were less expensive than booking on our own. The advantage is that it's our winter (if we get held up, Princess will sort us out). With the Flex fare we don't pay until final payment for the cruises or until we want to lock in seats and have to pay for the air, whatever comes first. I've reserved hotels that are book now/pay later and cancellable. Other than cruise deposits that are refundable, we haven't yet put out any money and the cruises were booked in November. We booked on the 3 for free sale that opens around September so the perks make the cruises a good value, plus we book inside cabins. The Majestic has no window cabins. We're in the highest inside category due to the 3 for free sale, so a last-minute upsell would be to a balcony (this happened to us once already so we can hope!). I've checked the prices regularly since November and only one cruise has been re-fared so far with no loss of benefits.

 

Right now I'm busy planning excursions for a British Isles cruise on the Crown this August so have slowed down on planning these cruises.

 

The Down Under cruises are the most ambitious planning I've done and it's a work in progress! Half the fun, isn't it? Well, it's a bit of 'work' but it helps us make the best of the 'fun' when we get there! 

 

Have a blast on your London trip. TRY to sleep on the plane and don't nap when you get there! You can sleep at home for free, lol!

 

Edited by Adventures ahead

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PS:

I'm sure Melburnians have lots of suggestions that may tip the scale for you in their direction. For us, Sydney seemed to better fit the bill as there also seemed like more things to do that interest us.

 

LOL, I meant to say I've become a cruise ship 'groupie'! I don't pay much attention to negative reviews. Unfortunately, many people are quicker to criticize than praise.

 

We're not counting on an upsell, quite happy with an inside cabin to better afford the expense of the trip!

Cheers! 

 

 

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We have done three trips to Australia, including cruises.  Spent a month this past Feb/March.  We still have not seen enough of the country despite our land tours.

 

It would be a toss up for us.  Sydney is a fabulous city.  Lots to see and do.  Melbourne is unique and we certainly enjoyed out time  there.  One thing that we enjoyed about Melbourne was renting a car and driving up the Great Ocean Road.  

 

I really think that this decision comes down to your personal preferences.  Cost is always an issue for many.  Sydney hotels are expensive. 

 

There are differences in on board ship expenses.  As an example, the on board currency on our Princess ship was AUD.   Two weeks later we were on an RCI cruise.  The on board currency was USD and prices, bar, restaurant, shop, were all about 20 percent highter.  So the bottom was that our onboard expenses on the Princess cruise were 35-50 less than the RCI.  The currency delta alone was 30 percent.

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4 hours ago, iancal said:

We have done three trips to Australia, including cruises.  Spent a month this past Feb/March.  We still have not seen enough of the country despite our land tours.

 

It would be a toss up for us.  Sydney is a fabulous city.  Lots to see and do.  Melbourne is unique and we certainly enjoyed out time  there.  One thing that we enjoyed about Melbourne was renting a car and driving up the Great Ocean Road.  

 

I really think that this decision comes down to your personal preferences.  Cost is always an issue for many.  Sydney hotels are expensive. 

 

There are differences in on board ship expenses.  As an example, the on board currency on our Princess ship was AUD.   Two weeks later we were on an RCI cruise.  The on board currency was USD and prices, bar, restaurant, shop, were all about 20 percent highter.  So the bottom was that our onboard expenses on the Princess cruise were 35-50 less than the RCI.  The currency delta alone was 30 percent.

Sydney hotels ARE expensive but I’ve never found equivalent properties in Melbourne much less so.

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I think you would regret having come all this way and didn't take a cruise out of Sydney Harbour.

 

The Opera House, the Bridge and the Harbour. Melbourne has nothing like it. The "cultural superiority" of Melbourne is something that exists mostly in the minds of Melburnians to make up for what the city lacks in scenic attributes.

 

The only cruising advantage Melbourne offers over Sydney is shorter access to Tasmania and Kangaroo Island.

 

You haven't said what destinations your cruises are heading to, but if you come to this part of the world your top priority should be a New Zealand cruise. Which are best done from Sydney.

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On 5/13/2019 at 7:04 AM, Chiliburn said:

Sydney or Melbourne,mmmm?

 I’d say Sydney. Even though I live in Sydney , it does have the wow factor of Sydney harbour ,and it is impressive.

Melbourne as a city does have more cultural and is a lovely place but doesn’t have as good a harbour.

To get the best experience you need to spend time outside the cities and see some of rural Australia.one city isn’t much different to any in the world.

As for flights 

qantas,United,virgin,delta and American fly none stop.

Air NZ are usually very competitive but you will have to stop in Auckland.

Actually Sydney is far more cultural. Twice the number of people attend cultural events in Sydney that attend them in Melbourne. 

 

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On 5/14/2019 at 9:47 AM, SinbadThePorter said:

I think you would regret having come all this way and didn't take a cruise out of Sydney Harbour.

 

The Opera House, the Bridge and the Harbour. Melbourne has nothing like it. The "cultural superiority" of Melbourne is something that exists mostly in the minds of Melburnians to make up for what the city lacks in scenic attributes.

 

The only cruising advantage Melbourne offers over Sydney is shorter access to Tasmania and Kangaroo Island.

 

You haven't said what destinations your cruises are heading to, but if you come to this part of the world your top priority should be a New Zealand cruise. Which are best done from Sydney.

Exactly right about the cultural thing. A few years back I helped found an orchestra. We never have any trouble getting an audience at the Sydney Opera House concert hall. In Melbourne it’s much harder. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Toryhere said:

Actually Sydney is far more cultural. Twice the number of people attend cultural events in Sydney that attend them in Melbourne. 

 

I suppose the word culture wasn’t the correct word I should have used.

just referring to the influence of different immigrants,street cafes and the ethnic diversity ,the atmosphere.

Sydney used to be just a business centre,a concrete jungle but it has changed over the last decade and is improving.we have 24 hour trading now.

Just tiring to find someone good about Melbourne I’m sure there’s something?

Edited by Chiliburn

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Mrs Gut says shopping is far superior in Melbourne, and if Mrs G knows anything it’s shopping

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1 hour ago, GUT2407 said:

Mrs Gut says shopping is far superior in Melbourne, and if Mrs G knows anything it’s shopping

I googled the meaning of culture ,I don’t think shopping would fit into the definition.

 

A lot of women believe it’s form of art.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Chiliburn said:

I googled the meaning of culture ,I don’t think shopping would fit into the definition.

 

A lot of women believe it’s form of art.

But isn't art culture? But then what is culture or cultural?  When I looked it up I found two definitions - 

  1. the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
    "20th century popular culture"
    synonyms: the arts, the humanities; 
    intellectual achievement(s), intellectual activity; 
    literature, music, painting, philosophy
    "20th century popular culture"
    • a refined understanding or appreciation of culture.
      "men of culture"
      Synonyms: intellectual/artistic awareness, education, cultivation, enlightenment, discernment, discrimination, good taste, taste, refinement, polish; More
       
       
       
       
  2. the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.
    "Afro-Caribbean culture"
    synonyms: civilization, society, way of life, lifestyle; 
    customs, traditions, heritage, habits, ways, mores, values
    "people from many different cultures"
    • the attitudes and behaviour characteristic of a particular social group.
 
13 hours ago, Toryhere said:

Actually Sydney is far more cultural. Twice the number of people attend cultural events in Sydney that attend them in Melbourne. 

 

 

I would like to know where you found those figures - this is from Limelight (Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine.)

https://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/news/victorians-now-spend-the-most-on-live-performances/

 

FacebookTwThe article doesn't actually support your statement. But then it does depend on your definition of cultural.

 

Anyway I agree both cities are worth visiting and it really comes down to the decision of the OP on what he wants from his cruises and as he said in his original post the cost was a factor.

 

I agree with Chilliburn about not just staying in the cities, get out and see some of the countryside/towns.

 

Leigh

Edited by possum52

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2 hours ago, possum52 said:
 

I would like to know where you found those figures - this is from Limelight (Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine.)

 

Agreed, I'm also sceptical.

 

Given the vagaries of the term, some could probably come up with some classification in which case it's met. But then it doesn't carry any credibility.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, possum52 said:

I agree with Chilliburn about not just staying in the cities, get out and see some of the countryside/towns.

 

That would be OK, but a lot of people are more time poor than cash poor, so cruising makes a lot of sense. Particularly if you are used to traveling that way.

 

For me the trouble of packing up and unpacking, getting to the next form of transport, traveling through some rather unimpressive or repetitive scenery, just to get to the next place you want to go, is not ideal.

 

I'm in favour of getting a taste of a place, then going in depth if it warrants it. For that first (or second) taste, cruising is perfect.

 

No matter how you do it, unless you keep coming back, you'll never see everything anyway.

Edited by SinbadThePorter

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2 minutes ago, SinbadThePorter said:

 

No matter how you do it, unless you keep coming back, you'll never see everything anyway.

 

That’s the biggest mistake people make is trying to do to much and see to much.

Half seeing someone and rushing on to the next and half seeing and doing.

Money rich but time poor.

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On 5/14/2019 at 9:47 AM, SinbadThePorter said:

 The "cultural superiority" of Melbourne is something that exists mostly in the minds of Melburnians to make up for what the city lacks in scenic attributes.

 

My thoughts pretty much also. That said, no doubt Melbourne is the sporting capital of the country.

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Posted (edited)

Wow. Lots of interesting replies! My wife keeps looking and, just today, hit me with several other cruise groupings in the same "area".  Fortunately there is plenty of time to look into all of them. I now have 3 "saved vacations" on Princess. We leave in 2 days for a 15 day connoisseur cruise tour to Alaska and will spend 3 days after that visiting folks outside Vancouver. (You can meet some very nice folks on cruises.) After that we'll do a cross country camping trip - Northern US this time - for probably 6 weeks or so. We have a little teardrop trailer which is essentially a queen sized bed on wheels with a "kitchen" area under a rear hatch. We did 7 weeks up to Fairbanks a couple of years ago and it was great. My wife is "collecting" US National Parks. Of course we had to cruise to get the one in the Virgin Islands and the one in American Samoa. :classic_biggrin:

 

After that trip we have a 12 day Northern Lights cruise out of Southampton to Alta, Norway. When we get back to Southampton we fly to Barcelona for 4 days and then take a 14 day TA to Florida and fly back to California from there. I find it amazing she is checking into all of these Australia/New Zealand cruises already. However, I just say, "Yes, Dear" and check them out. Like I said, I now have 3 saved vacations on Princess. I wish we could do a combination of cruising and land tour (I won't rule that out) but Australia is so dang big there's really no way to "see" it on a brief land tour and cruising may be all we get. (Which of course allows one to see even less of the country...) I suppose I could start buying lottery tickets and hope for the best but that's not a very "certain" way to afford anything. We're lucky we can cruise at all. My wife says she's having trouble with the Sydney cruises lining up for B2B2B whereas out of Melbourne it seems to be easy to make it work.

 

Some of the trips we are looking at are:

 

6 Days Southern Australia Explorer
13 Days New Zealand
14 Days Queensland
=====================
 
7 Days Southern Australia Explorer
5 Days Tasmania
13 Days New Zealand
=====================
 
10 Days Tasmania
4 Days Australian Getaway
14 Days New Zealand
======================
 
They all are in the $12,000 + range without flights or hotels. Strange since I have a very modest pension and we both have small Social Security pensions as well. (Not sure what that is called in Oz. Age Pension?) Not what one would call wealthy by any means. I'm sure my wife will come up with more for me to look at. She's like that. I will, of course, once again say, "Yes, Dear" and look at them. I find that she's worth it. Heck, she's put up with me for a very long time. 😏

 

Edited by Thrak

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