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Best Cruise Lines to Circumnavigate Australia?


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Your choices for dates and cruise lines are limited.

Depending on budget your choices may be limited even more. Out of the ones available, Viking, HAL, Princess, Oceania and Cunard, I would go with Oceania having more port stops and better onboard facilities.

There may be other lines that I missed but try a google search or search on a particular OTA that has a great search engine.

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We did Princess’ circumnavigation of Australia for 26 days on 29th February 2024. Enjoyed our time on board the Coral Princess.

 

However, it seems that Princess is now using industrial ports, quite a way outside the towns they purport to be visiting. In most cases shuttle buses were provided without cost, but the organisation for shuttles was poor and time on land curtailed.

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On 4/24/2024 at 12:12 AM, Reina del Mar said:

We did Princess’ circumnavigation of Australia for 26 days on 29th February 2024. Enjoyed our time on board the Coral Princess.

 

However, it seems that Princess is now using industrial ports, quite a way outside the towns they purport to be visiting. In most cases shuttle buses were provided without cost, but the organisation for shuttles was poor and time on land curtailed.

For some ports there isn't an alternative - that's the only port there is. 

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Yes I appreciate that- but there certainly is for Darwin!  Maybe extended port hours to allow for transfers although that would obviously cost more to sail faster and better organisation for port disembarkation - so many people complained at having to wait till 1 pm for a shuttle when docked at 9 am- we were fortunate to have priority disembarkation but not everyone did!  Also poor information from port information talks for Adelaide and Melbourne where Port of Adelaide and Port of Melbourne were recommended was not helpful!. Free shuttles were helpful but when their air con doesn’t work it is not comfortable.-  Having said all that, we did enjoy our cruise.

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On 4/23/2024 at 10:12 AM, Reina del Mar said:

We did Princess’ circumnavigation of Australia for 26 days on 29th February 2024. Enjoyed our time on board the Coral Princess.

 

However, it seems that Princess is now using industrial ports, quite a way outside the towns they purport to be visiting. In most cases shuttle buses were provided without cost, but the organisation for shuttles was poor and time on land curtailed.

We can attest to that as we just got off the Coral which went around Australia for 26 days.  Very disappointed in how things were handled in Darwin as we went to an industrial dock and the drive from there into Darwin via buses was 45 minutes each way.  There were not enough buses for everyone and we had to get a shuttle ticket and then wait for our  number to be called to get on a bus.  Our ticket number was 11 but by two o'clock we still had not been called and so we gave up and gave our tickets to someone else.  We heard the last shuttle ticket number called at 4:00 p.m. and found out that not only were not a lot of stores open in town but that most museums and attractions closed at 5:00 p.m.  What a waste of a day!  It seems that Princess is using quite a few out of the way piers for docking as they don't want to pay higher docking fees.  The passengers are the ones paying for Princess's stubborness.  In San Francisco where we ended our trans-Pacific, we were docked at Pier 80, an industrial port miles from downtown or the Embarcadero.  Princess once again arranged for buses, free of charge, for transportation to Union Square or Pier 27 on the Embarcadero and once again it was a disaster.  We stood in long lines in the parking lot with our luggage, waiting for the few buses that were ferrying passengers to this destinations and we stood for over an hour because there were so few buses and the traffic was bad in SF that day.  Thankfully it was a sunny day and I can't imagine what that wait would have been like in the rain.  Shame on Princess!

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In 2022 we did the 35 day circumnavigation of Australia on HAL.  We started the Australia cruise with the 34 day repositioning from San Diego to Sydney, so we were on the Noordam for a total of 69 days.  The circumnavigation portion was extraordinary.  I have no other cruises to compare, since this was my first and probably only circumnavigation.  

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Interesting to see how Princess is getting the blame for the Darwin dock change. Local port authorities have a big say in where ships dock and I doubt they would arbitrarily allow a cruise ship to choose to dock in a working port unless there was no alternative.

 

Was any reason given for the change to the Darwin dock? 

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8 hours ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Interesting to see how Princess is getting the blame for the Darwin dock change. Local port authorities have a big say in where ships dock and I doubt they would arbitrarily allow a cruise ship to choose to dock in a working port unless there was no alternative.

 

Was any reason given for the change to the Darwin dock? 

I agree Julie. A forty five minute trip each way sounds over the top too. It is only 21.7 km from the East Arm Wharf to the CBD. Must have been very slow shuttles.

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13 hours ago, possum52 said:

I agree Julie. A forty five minute trip each way sounds over the top too. It is only 21.7 km from the East Arm Wharf to the CBD. Must have been very slow shuttles.

 

We can only discuss what we experienced !

 

It might only be 21.7 km but that’s how long it took. It seemed an extremely long return journey when the air con died on the coach and no substitute coach was sent. The lack of air con might have meant the driver needed to travel more slowly on the return journey, but not for outbound journey.

 

 

\

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12 hours ago, possum52 said:

I agree Julie. A forty five minute trip each way sounds over the top too. It is only 21.7 km from the East Arm Wharf to the CBD. Must have been very slow shuttles.

Distance and time to travel that distance aren't always equitable. Melbourne airport to the apartment hotel we like is around 23kms and usually takes about half an hour but one time it took close to an hour and it wasn't even rush hour. It was crazy!

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  • 2 weeks later...
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On 4/29/2024 at 12:12 AM, Reina del Mar said:

Yes I appreciate that- but there certainly is for Darwin!  Maybe extended port hours to allow for transfers although that would obviously cost more to sail faster and better organisation for port disembarkation - so many people complained at having to wait till 1 pm for a shuttle when docked at 9 am- we were fortunate to have priority disembarkation but not everyone did!  Also poor information from port information talks for Adelaide and Melbourne where Port of Adelaide and Port of Melbourne were recommended was not helpful!. Free shuttles were helpful but when their air con doesn’t work it is not comfortable.-  Having said all that, we did enjoy our cruise.

Hello, this is very helpful for my planning as I have the Top Half booked for this August which covers Darwin. Just wondering what priority disembarkation that you spoke of. Is it the Elite priority or Princess excursion priority?

 

Also is there taxi or other forms of shared ride available?

 

Thank you!

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Priority disembarkation was for Elite status. Sorry I didn’t notice whether there were taxis available at the port. We did however use two different taxis to get us around in Darwin as we needed to visit somewhere which was a bit far to walk with knee issues. Taxis came quickly and were reasonably priced on both outward and return journeys. We used cash so not sure if you could use credit card.

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