CRUISE AND STAY
7 FULL DAYS CRUISING IN THE WHITSUNDAYS WITH OUR EXCLUSIVE CRUISE AND STAY PACKAGE.
This is the perfect package for those seeking the best of both adventure and relaxation. Hop on board the beloved Powerplay and cruise the turquoise seas, and then unwind at the cozy and spacious Airlie Searene Apartments.
This combination includes:
- Two day, two night tour on the well-loved Powerplay
- A four-night stay at the relaxing Airlie Searene Apartments
The Whitsundays is a dream, ready to be explored by you! Hop on board Powerplay for the ultimate package featuring luxury and opulence. Cruise and Stay gives those with wanderlust the opportunity to live their daydreams, whisking you around the crystal-clear waters of the Whitsundays. Sail authentically, snorkel with vibrant marine creatures and enjoy the relaxing moments with your loved ones.
You also get to stay in one of Airlie Beach's most beloved accommodation options, Searene. Wind down in your cozy self-contained apartment and stretch out, watching the orange-tinged sunset from your wet-edge pool. This truly is paradise.
Highlights & Inclusions
Tour - powerplay whitsundays.
- Stand-up paddleboards and double kayaks
- Heated foredeck spa
- Snorkelling equipment and wetsuit
- Enjoy underwater blue lights, which are great for attracting marine life
- Fresh linen provided for each guest
- All meals freshly prepared on board by your highly trained crew
- BYO Alcohol
- Travel faster and see more of the Whitsundays
- Comfortable and spacious two-level Catamaran
Accommodation - Airlie Searene Apartments
- Unwind in a deluxe studio apartment
- Features a private balcony with stunning panoramic views of the ocean
- Conveniently located in the heart of Airlie Beach
- Located in one of the most sought after resorts in the area
- Cool off in the postcard-perfect wet edge pool and relax in the spa
- Our studios have full kitchenettes, central bathrooms and a large soaking bath with views
- Fully air-conditioned and tropical ceiling fans
- You have the flex booking option of rearranging the sailing tour
Please refer to your ticket for accommodation check-in and check-out times before arrival.
Day 1: arrive in airlie beach.
Head to the vibrant Whitsunday Coast and check in to your luxurious accommodation at Airlie Searene Apartments. Located conveniently in the heart of Airlie Beach, your apartment is only a short stroll to an amazing array of shops, restaurants and cafes. It's also nestled a short 12-minute stroll from Airlie Lagoon, as well as a jaw-dropping 1.5 kilometre walk to Co...
Head to the vibrant Whitsunday Coast and check in to your luxurious accommodation at Airlie Searene Apartments. Located conveniently in the heart of Airlie Beach, your apartment is only a short stroll to an amazing array of shops, restaurants and cafes. It's also nestled a short 12-minute stroll from Airlie Lagoon, as well as a jaw-dropping 1.5 kilometre walk to Coral Sea Marina. Spend the rest of your day enjoying the wonderful sights of Airlie Beach, and soak up the salty sea breeze.
Overnight: Airlie Searene Apartments
Day 2: Enjoy a free day in Airlie Beach
Rise and shine, because it's time to enjoy a full day of freedom in the wonderful Airlie Beach! Embrace the quirks of the vibrant beach-town lifestyle and settle into the leisurely pace of the locals. Eat at one of the incredible restaurants and cafes in the Airlie hub, and feast on the fresh flavours of the varying local cuisine. After lunch, you might like to unwind by the gorgous wet-edge pool at your apartments, taking in the panoramic sights of the Coral Sea below. Enjoy the relaxation of the day, because the adventure begins tomorrow!
Day 3: Depart Airlie Beach and begin the adventure
First things first: check out of your cozy accommodation and check into paradise! Leave your extra luggage at reception after checking out of Airlie Searene Apartments in the morning, and get ready to make the most of your morning! Enjoy the leisurely pace of your day as you sit down to a delicious brunch at one of the many renowned breakfast cafes in Airlie Beach. Take a well-deserved stroll and soak up the sights before heading to the Coral Sea Marina to begin your next adventure!
Depart the Coral Sea Marina at 1:00pm, aboard the wonderful Powerplay Whitsundays.
Get ready for a life-changing adventure with Powerplay! She will make her way through the glistening waters of the Whitsundays, toward some of the natural marvels you've been itching to see. Your friendly crew will whisk you away to destinations like Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet Lookout and the colourful fringing reefs of the famous Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. During your adventure you can choose to relax, unwind or learn the ropes of sailing! Wine and dine aboard Powerplay, freshen up in your private cabin and enjoy the ride aboard a romantic and whimsical vessel. All you need for the perfect adventure is at your fingertips: delicious food will be served, informative commentary about the area will be available and there will be plenty of entertainment if you need a change of scenery from the calming hues of blue.
On your first afternoon aboard Powerplay, you'll set sail across the calm waters toward the islands where you'll anchor up for a dreamy night of sleep upon the sea.
Overnight: Powerplay Whitsunday - Private Cabin
Day 4: Out on the water, the dream continues
Get up early and take a look around: you're still in paradise! Seeing the gentle lapping of the Coral Sea will be the perfect way to start your day, accompanied by digging into a scrumptious breakfast. Then, hop off the boat and go on a bushwalking adventure up to Hill Inlet Lookout. See the marvellous sights of the blue and white cosmos of Hill Inlet, and then head back down to dip your toes into the crystal-clear waters of Whitehaven Beach.
Sit down to a delicious morning tea, before making your way to the western side of the mysterious Hook Island. The illusive Powerplay will anchor down in the cool and calm waters, and once there, enjoy lunch made fresh by your passionate crew. After a minute of relaxation, it's time to grab a snorkel and dive headfirst into the luring turquoise waters! You'll be hypnotised by the incredible array of colourful marine life - spot a swimming turtle, a floundering Sweetlip fish and even a stingray if you're lucky!
Refreshments will be served as you watch the orange-tinged sunset, giving you the space to unwind from a jam-packed day of adventures. Head back to your cozy cabin and tuck in for another blissful night of sleep.
Day 5: Snorkel to your heart's content
Wake up, feeling refreshed and ready for another day of adventures. It's time to grab a snorkel and dive into the azure waters once more! Before your adventure, enjoy another delicious breakfast before slipping into your swimwear. Explore a new underwater location, meet more vibrant creatures of the sea and stare in awe at the colourful coral beds. Up for something different? You might also like to try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding! Soak up the last few hours of your own personal paradise before making your way back through the azure passage towards Coral Sea Marina.
You will return back to Airlie Beach at around 11:00am, and wander back to your luscious enclave at Searene Airlie Apartments for another two delightful nights.
Please note that each itinerary is weather dependent and designed to be flexible.
Day 6: Unwind and explore on your last full day in Airlie Beach
As your last full day in tropical paradise, it's time to make the most of it! Peruse the vibrant heart of Airlie Beach and grab a bite to eat, then head to the Airlie Lagoon to cool off. There's a number of incredible land-based adventures to explore on your last day, so ask your friendly travel expert for advice!
Day 7: Depart Airlie Beach
It's your last morning in paradise, so be sure to reflect on the incredible last few days of your adventure. Check out and make your way back home, or onwards to your next adventure.
Located in a stunning resort just 12 minutes walk from Airlie Beach Lagoon, the Searene apartments boast stunning views of the Coral Sea. They’re the perfect place to unwind after an adventurous few days out to sea, offering deluxe and cozy accommodation for an incredible price.
- Deluxe studio apartment
- Conveniently located in the centre of Airlie Beach
- Features a private balcony with panoramic views of the ocean
- Cool off in the postcard-perfect wet edge pool and relax in the spa
- Features a kitchenette and a central bathroom
- Option to sleep up to 3 guests
Powerplayhas it all - from snorkelling to stand-up paddle-boarding to Whitehaven Beach, it’s one of the best tours in the Whitsundays! Offering action-packed activities and a comfortable, spacious ...
Powerplayhas it all - from snorkelling to stand-up paddle-boarding to Whitehaven Beach, it’s one of the best tours in the Whitsundays! Offering action-packed activities and a comfortable, spacious space to unwind, you’ll get to enjoy the deep blue at its very best.
- Snorkel the incredibly clear water and spot marine life
- Try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding
- Explore the Hill Inlet Lookout and glimpse incredible panoramic views
- Relax on the silica sands of Whitehaven Beach
Whitsunday Adventurer offers the best of both worlds when it comes to exploring the Whitsundays - soak up the beauty of the region from above and below!
What to bring.
Please bring only a small soft bag containing no zippers with:
- Change of clothes
- Beach towel
- Insect repellent
- Water bottles to refill
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunnies etc.)
- Warm clothes/pullover for evenings (seasonal)
Excess luggage can be stored at our Airlie Beach Travel Shop in town. Located at 344 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach, open from 7:00 am - 7:00...
Excess luggage can be stored at our Airlie Beach Travel Shop in town. Located at 344 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach, open from 7:00 am - 7:00 pm, seven days per week.
You will also need to bring your own alcoholic beverages, available for purchase in town. No glass bottles permitted (with the exception of wine).
- Drinking water
- Bath towels
- Wetsuit hire and snorkelling equipment
- Marine Park fees
- Alcohol and soft drinks (BYO - refer to "What to Bring" for more info.)
- Tours at sea between the 24th of December to the 2nd of January will incur a local payment once-off fee of $20 per person per night, payable direct at check in.
- Tours departing on Easter Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday will incur a once-off fee of $20 per person per night, payable direct at check in.
Terms and Conditions
This is a water-based activity, for safety reasons all passengers must be able to swim and speak fluent English.
Please advise us before booking if any passengers are under 18 years old to ensure this is the appropriate trip.
You must reconfirm all booked tours prior to travel as specified on your voucher. If applicable, notes such as dietary requirements, pick-up locations and additional fees should also be confirmed at this time. Reconfirmations cannot be actioned through Sailing Whitsundays/Mr Travel, and must be done so directly through the Service Operator as specified on each ticket.
It is your responsibility to notify us of ticket discrepancies. Please read through the details on your voucher thoroughly to ensure all details such as passenger names, ages and dates of travel on vouchers are correct.
It is the responsibility of all passengers travelling to advise both your travel agent at the time of booking and vessel check-in agent before boarding of any medical conditions including food allergies you may suffer from.
You need to allow adequate time to check-in prior to the specified departure time.
All prices are stated in Australian dollars and include GST. Surcharges over peak holiday seasons may apply.
The Service Operator reserves the right to alter prices and extra costs. Extra costs may include EMC fees, Stingersuit/Wetsuit Hire, Luggage Storage, Insurance, Linen Hire, National Park Fees, Fuel Levies, Dietary Fees, etc. Bonds may also apply.
We will also endeavour to communicate these extra costs with you at the time of booking, and on your ticket. However, it is your responsibility to confirm which (if any) additional costs apply with each Service Operator upon reconfirming your trip.
It should be noted that adventure travel involves risk. Whilst we make every effort to safeguard clients, we cannot be responsible for personal injury or loss due to the actions of our clients which are beyond our control. We highly recommend that all clients have travel insurance covering illness, injury, loss or damage to personal belongings and not being able to travel on the confirmed date of departure. You should also ensure your travel insurance will cover special circumstances including weather events preventing guests from travelling to their tour departure destination and cancelled flights due to unforeseen circumstances.
Please be aware operators pass on credit card merchant fees so there is a non-refundable 1% surcharge for VISA and MASTERCARD card purchases.
Terms and Conditions (including the Cancellation Policy) are subject to change. The most recent versions can be found online on the relevant product pages.
All ticket/voucher reissues attract a $20 administration fee.
Open Date Vouchers / Gift Certificate:
Shipping Costs are in addition to the ticket price and will be added at check-out. Shipping costs are non-refundable and do not makeup part of the ticket value.
E-Vouchers incur no shipping fees. You have 5 years to use the value of the voucher. Seasonal Price Rises will apply if travelling out the current seasons pricing. Vouchers can be exchanged for free up to the full value of the voucher excluding credit card fees and charges.
All cancellations forfeit 25% of the recommended retail price (RRP) - not the discounted/sale price. Cancellations made 60-30 days prior to travel date forfeit 50% of the RRP. No shows or client cancellations made within 30 days of departure forfeit 100% of the total ticket price.
Transfers between tours can be made at the suppliers discretion, however, it should be noted that supplier fees may apply. Tour transfers also incur a $20 administration fee.
It is compulsory that all cancellation requests are in writing and sent via email to [email protected]. Cancellations attempted via online chat or phone will not be actioned.
The Service Operator reserves the right to alter prices, alter itineraries, apply a fuel surcharge, cancel departures, arrange alternative transport and vary itineraries and services if necessary.
All departures and itineraries are subject to weather. Tours may be changed or cancelled for any reason at the discretion of the Service Operator. If the Service Operator has to cancel the trip or activity (prior to departure) and we cannot offer a suitable alternative, then a refund will be given minus a 20% administration fee and any associated card fees. We strongly recommend that you have travel insurance, especially during the wet season.
In the unlikely event of your trip being cancelled or stood down, all guest communication is required to go through our Online Store via telephone or email. While there is a Sailing Whitsundays retail outlet located Airlie Beach, please be aware that they operate as a separate entity and are unable to access reservations made by the Mr Travel online department.
All refunds are in Australian Dollars and must be made to the card of payment. Sailing Whitsundays/Mr Travel is not liable for exchange rate fluctuations or fees, or any other merchant/bank fees associated with domestic and/or international transactions.
Where a full refund is applicable, there is the option to transfer the whole cost of the tour to another tour or “Credit” to avoid the administration fee. A transfer fee of $20 will apply.
You will be emailed confirmation once the refund has been processed. Once the refund has been processed, it may still take time for the banks to clear the amount. Please allow 7-10 business days for the funds to clear into Australian accounts and up to 21 business days for international accounts.
All Service Operators have the right to provide client feedback and to cancel bookings based off of feedback from other Service Operators.
Please enjoy your travel experience in a kind and responsible manner.
Sailing Whitsundays/Mr Travel will treat this as any normal client cancellation and therefore the cancellation fees stated in the Client Cancellation Policy will apply.
Thank you for booking with our East-Coast travel experts here at Mr Travel/Sailing Whitsundays. If you would like any further advice, assistance in arranging accommodation, transfers or additional tours please get in touch.
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Booking For CRUISE AND STAY
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Sailing Whitsundays acknowledges the Ngaro, Gia and Juru people as the Traditional Owners of the lands and seas in which we operate. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.
- Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet
- Great Barrier Reef Adventures
- Camira Sailing Adventures
- Island Escape Day Cruises
- Airlie Beach
- Groups & Events
- Island Transfers
- Newsletter sign-up
- Turtle Club
- Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet
- Great Barrier Reef
- Sailing Adventures
- Island Paradise
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Explore the Whitsundays
About cruise whitsundays.
Based in Airlie Beach, we know how lucky we are to call the Whitsundays home and work hard to showcase the highlights of this incredible region to visitors from around the world.
Our island transfers, day cruises and activities can take you to the Great Barrier Reef, iconic Whitehaven Beach, must-see Hamilton Island, energetic Airlie Beach and the ocean and islands in between.
We also offer Reefsleep – a fabulous night under the stars on the outer Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s first underwater accommodation, ReefSuites. Be prepared for an intimate experience that will stay with you forever.
Journey Beyond and Cruise Whitsundays acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout The Whitsundays and Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities.
We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging, and commit to building a brighter future together.
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Sign up to receive the latest news and offers, ready to book, weather update - tour cancellations.
Please be advised that due to effects of Tropical Cyclone Kirrily the following tours will be cancelled: –
Saturday 27th – Sunday 28 th January 2024
- Camira Sailing Adventure
- Whitehaven Beach Chill & Grill
- Whitehaven Beach Morning and Afternoon Departure
Monday 29 th January 2024
- Whitehaven Beach Chill and Grill
Resort Connections (from Port of Airlie & Shute Harbour)
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th January
Resort Connections will be running as per the timetable with the following exceptions:
We will not be operating the 8:00am direct from Port of Airlie to Hamilton Island Marina
We will not be operating the 5:10pm departures from Hamilton Island
Monday 29th January
Resort Connections will run as per the timetable with the following exceptions
We will not operate the 8:00am direct from Port of Airlie to Hamilton Island Marina
We will not operate the 5:10pm direct from Hamilton Island Marina to Port of Airlie
Our Resort Connection timetable can be found here: https://www.cruisewhitsundays.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/CWS-Timetable-update-20.06.2022-2.pdf-2.pdf
Please continue to check our website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.
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Cruises to the whitsundays departing brisbane.
Book a P&O Whitsundays cruise and enjoy days and nights filled with entertainment, relaxation, and delicious cuisine. Our cruises offer unbeatable convenience, the freedom to customise every day of your holiday, and an experience you truly won't find anywhere on land.
Depart for the Whitsunday Islands from Brisbane aboard the Pacific Encounter, with a visit to Airlie Beach on the third day, giving you plenty of time to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Depart for Airlie Beach from Brisbane aboard Pacific Encounter. Spend the day there or take a shore tour to explore the Whitsunday Islands or Great Barrier Reef. If you ache to snorkel, dive, swim, paddle or just laze on a breathtaking white sand beach, this is the place to do it.
Check out our current specials!
With many whitsunday tour experiences across the iconic whitsundays portfolio, we’ve got all your whitsunday holiday needs covered with our packages, deals and specials. , current specials.
Book DIRECT and SAVE 5% off any tour
Book any tour on our website, and take 5% off with the code DIRECT5.
Book any TWO tours for 10% OFF BOTH
Book any tour and you will be shown an option to add another tour for 10% off both tours.
Book any THREE tours for 15% OFF ALL THREE
Book any tour and you will be shown an option to add another two tours for 15% off all three tours.
How To Book
Just begin your booking for any one of our tours, and you will be shown the option to add on more for the discounts. You don’t need a special code, the saving is automatically applied once the additional tours are added.
Terms & Conditions:
Valid for travel from 16/1/23 – 30/6/23. Subject to availability and weather conditions. If customer cancels part of their booking, the discount will be reduced or removed as per the applicable rate. Discounts not valid for Cruise & Dine package.
Book both Sundowner Cruise & the Creek to Cape Bus Tour to get 10% OFF BOTH TOURS
Creek to cape bus tour.
Experience the beautiful hinterland of the Whitsunday Coast with our Creek to Cape bus tour. Starting with a pick-up from your hotel, our first stop is Cedar Creek Falls. A natural rock pool with a seasonal waterfall, the creek is beautiful to explore both up and down from the waterfall itself. Then a quick stop at our local Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation for a coffee, before heading north to the Cape Gloucester region for some beach time and lunch (at own cost). We’ll take you to one of our favourite remote beach spots, Frog Rock, and then on to Cape Gloucester Resort for lunch. Choose anything off the menu at own cost, indulge in a cocktail if you like. Or pack a beach picnic instead. You can swim at al locations, the freshwater Falls rockpool, the beach at Frog Rock and Cape Gloucester, and in the saltwater swimming pool at Cape Gloucester Resort. Return to your hotel after the tour in our bus.
Sundowner Sunset Cruise
The sunset cruise on Sundowner is Airlie’s original and most popular sunset cruise. Enjoy the best vantage point in town for the sunset as we do a leisurely cruise around the bay off Airlie Beach for 2 hours. Receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine or soft drink on arrival. We also serve a shared platter of nibbles during the cruise. Further drinks and snacks can be purchased on board. One of the highlights of the Sundowner sunset cruise is the fun, sociable atmosphere in board. All ages are welcome, and friendships are sure to be made. We play music, and our crew love having a chat to the guests. Even though we don’t do a running commentary, if you have any questions, you’ll be sure to learn something new about the area, or at least hear some tall tales!
*Customer must book both the Sundowner sunset cruise AND the Creek to Cape bus tour to qualify for the 10% discount on both tours. If either tour is cancelled by the customer, the discount is automatically removed. Both tours can be completed in one day, or on separate days. Both tours welcome children, children’s ticket rates apply. Bus tour incl hotel transfers btw Jubilee Pocket-Cannonvale. Lunch & drinks at own cost, or pack a picnic. Sunset cruise doesn’t incl transfers. Does incl 1 glass of sparkling wine/soft drink & nibbles. Valid for travel up to 30 June 2023.
How to Book
Click the button below to get started. Choose your sunset cruise date, and follow the prompts. Add or Skip the Optional Extras. Then look for the additional option of adding the bus tour to get the 10% discount. Choose your date for the bus tour and proceed. Your discount is automatically applied, you don’t need to add a code, or do anything. See you soon!
$399 Iconic Whitsundays Package
3 tours to cover the best of the Whitsundays, and show you the absolute highlights of Airlie Beach, the Whitsunday Coast and the Whitsunday Islands.
Sail to Whitehaven Beach, explore the rainforest hinterland and remote beaches of the Whitsunday Coast, and enjoy a social sunset cruise.
1. Creek to Cape Bus Tour
2. sundowner sunset cruise, 3. lady enid whitehaven + snorkelling, lady enid whitehaven + snorkelling adults only day tour .
A day on Lady Enid is all about you, sailing a beautiful Australian rare classic yacht, delectable food and a relaxed time frame. This 1961 John Alden yacht is the epitome of barefoot luxury. Sailing daily to the world famous Whitehaven Beach and snorkelling the Island reefs. This is an adults only experience.
*Customer must book all three tours to qualify for the package price. If any tour is cancelled by the customer, the package price is automatically removed, and any there applicable packages/deals will be applied. Tours can be completed in two days or on three separate days. (Creek to Cape + Sundowner on one day, Lady Enid on another) NB. Lady Enid is strictly an adults only tour, so there is only an adults rate for this package. You may book additional children on Creek to Cape or Sundowner if you wish. Bus tour incl hotel transfers btw Jubilee Pocket-Cannonvale. Lunch & drinks at own cost, or pack a picnic. Lady Enid includes transfers + all meals + one glass of sparkling wine. Additional drinks available for purchase on board. Sunset cruise doesn’t incl transfers. Does incl sparkling wine/soft drink & nibbles. Valid for travel up to 30 June 2023.
Click the button below to get started. Choose your Creek to Cape bus tour date first, and follow the prompts. Add or Skip the Optional Extras. Then look for the additional option of adding the sunset cruise to get all tours at the package price. Choose your dates for the sunset cruise and proceed. Then add the Lady Enid tour, in the same manner. The package price is automatically applied, you don’t need to add a code, or do anything. See you soon!
If there are no current specials available, please check back later, or keep an eye out on our Facebook page !
- Whitsunday Weddings
- Sunset Cruise Whitsundays
- Cruise and Dine Airlie Beach
- Groups & Private Charters
- Hen’s Parties Whitsundays
- Corporate Cruises and Events
- Buck’s Cruises
- Cancellation Policy
- Covid Restrictions
- NEW Bus Tour
Whitsunday Cruises offer a magical voyage through one of the world’s most stunning and pristine marine playgrounds. Nestled within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Whitsunday Islands boast a tapestry of turquoise waters, secluded bays, and vibrant coral reefs that beckon travelers to embark on an unforgettable maritime adventure.
Setting sail on a Whitsunday Cruise is an invitation to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and splendor of this tropical paradise. Here, the gentle sea breeze carries with it the promise of exploration, relaxation, and awe-inspiring encounters with nature.
Exploration of Iconic Destinations: Whitsunday Cruises provide the opportunity to explore iconic destinations, each more breathtaking than the last. Whitehaven Beach, with its blindingly white sands and azure waters, is a vision of serenity and natural perfection. Snorkel or dive amidst the vibrant marine life at spots like Blue Pearl Bay or Mantaray Bay, where colorful corals and curious fish create an enchanting underwater world.
Sailing Adventures: Sailing aboard a cruise ship or yacht is a time-honored way to experience the Whitsundays. As the sails catch the wind and the vessel glides over the water, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and tranquility. Whether you’re at the helm or simply enjoying the ride, sailing in the Whitsundays is a blend of adventure and serenity.
Diverse Vessels and Experiences: Whitsunday Cruises offer a diverse range of vessels to suit different preferences. From luxurious catamarans and traditional sailboats to spacious cruise ships, there’s a perfect fit for every traveler. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family-friendly adventure, or a social gathering with friends, Whitsunday Cruises cater to your desires.
Great Barrier Reef Exploration: A highlight of Whitsunday Cruises is the chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Snorkeling and diving expeditions allow you to witness the vibrant corals and marine creatures that call the reef home. Swim alongside graceful sea turtles, spot dazzling fish, and marvel at the intricate reef formations that have captivated explorers for generations.
Island Hopping and Relaxation: Whitsunday Cruises often include island hopping, allowing you to discover the unique character of each island. Whether you’re strolling along palm-fringed beaches, hiking to scenic viewpoints, or simply unwinding on the deck, you’ll find that each moment on the islands offers a new perspective and a sense of connection to nature.
Guided Experiences and Expert Insights: Many Whitsunday Cruises are guided by knowledgeable crew members who share their insights about the region’s history, ecology, and marine life. These experts enhance your journey by providing valuable information and creating a deeper understanding of the natural wonders that surround you.
Whitsunday Cruises are a blend of adventure and relaxation, offering an intimate encounter with the pristine landscapes, vibrant marine ecosystems, and timeless beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Whether you’re drawn to the thrill of water sports, the allure of hidden coves, or the tranquility of sailing under starlit skies, a Whitsunday Cruise promises an immersive and unforgettable experience that will leave you with cherished memories of this tropical paradise.
Packages & Specials
- Overnight Sailing
- Airlie Beach Accommodation
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Get In Touch
Phone: (+61) 7 4813 9003 Email: [email protected]
ATAS Accredited Travel Agency Licence Holder No: A12711
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Other trips you might be interested in.
CQ Adventure Flights
Choose from three amazing options for the most thrilling ride of your life! This Soviet era plane will have you feeling like a real fighter pilot against the stunning backdrop of the Whitsundays!
Ocean Rafting - Fly Raft Package
Ocean Rafting Fly Raft Package provides the best view from above, on, and below the water in the stunning Whitsundays! Enjoy a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef and choose from either the Southern Lights or Northern Exposure tour for the best day in the sun!
Ocean Rafting Scenic Flight
This 60-minute scenic flight will be the highlight of your Whitsunday stay! See the iconic sights of the Great Barrier Reef from the best vantage point available. Enquire now!
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A perfect introductory Airlie Beach experience, this boardwalk Segway journey will show you the magic of the water’s edge! Feel the breeze in your hair on this 7km round trip today!
Air Whitsunday Seaplanes - Palm Bay Day Escape
Spend a day exploring beautiful Palm Bay Resort on Long Island and let the cool breeze push all your worries away! Book today to secure your place on this secluded tropical island paradise!
Air Whitsunday Seaplanes - Panorama Tour
See the Whitsundays from all angles on this air, land and sea adventure spectacular! With visits to some of the most iconic Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Island locations. The only way to visit the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands on the same day!
Cruise Whitsundays - Great Barrier Reef Adventures
On special - contact us*.
Spend a day exploring the rough from the Cruise Whitsundays pontoon! Offering incredible coral viewing from inside and outside the water- there isn’t a person this tour wouldn’t suit! Enquire now!
Perfect for those without strong sea legs this purpose-built jet boat will have you seeing all the wonders of the Whitsunday Islands without the sea sickness! Enquire now for fun for the whole family!
Cruise Whitsundays - Camira
You can’t miss this beautiful purple catamaran and you won’t want to! Offering an exciting day sail in the beautiful Whitsundays- you will walk on Whitehaven and swim coral reefs under the warm Aussie sun! Book today!
Lady Enid is a luxury yacht available exclusively for adults for a group sail in the stunning Whitsundays! Swim and snorkel the vibrant coral reefs in this relaxing day out on the water!
Ocean Rafting - Northern Exposure Tour
Enjoy a half day experience on an incredible Ocean Rafting adventure! Swim at two stunning reef locations and sink your toes into silica sand in this great day out for the whole family!
Ocean Rafting - Southern Lights Tour
Spend as much time as possible on the iconic Whitehaven Beach! Swim the Coral Sea and bask in tropical sunshine while travelling in the incredible Ocean Rafting speed boat! Perfect for families!
Providence V – Whitehaven Beach & Dumbell Island Tour
Snorkel in the most magnificent coral gardens of the Whitsundays and stroll along the world-famous Whitehaven Beach on this fabulous day sail with Providence V. Experience the sailing of yesteryear today!
Salty Dog Sea Kayaking - Full Day Island and Snorkel Tour
Available winter months.
Enjoy an incredible 10-15km kayak of stunning views and pristine conditions with the Salty Dog full day tour! Best for those with a medium level of fitness- the beautiful experience will be worth all your hard work!
Salty Dog Sea Kayaking - Half Day Kayak and Turtle Tour
Join this popular Salty Dog guided adventure- enjoyed by experienced and beginner paddlers alike. We ensure a fun day out- so book now to avoid disappointment!
SeaLink - Whitehaven Beach Day Tour
Explore the wonders the Whitsundays have to offer. Visit both the northern and southern ends of Whitsunday Island including the Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach.
This award-winning tour offers an exhilarating 600-horsepower experience in the magical Whitsunday Islands! Enjoy a snorkelling adventure and a visit to Whitehaven Beach to make memories to last a lifetime!
This day tour is perfect for the young and old alike! Offering stable and comfortable cruising to Whitsunday Island for the ultimate Whitehaven day tour, the Whitehaven Xpress is an experience not to be missed- book today!
ZigZag Whitsundays combines the must-see locations of the Whitsundays such as Whitehaven Beach including the Southern Lookout and 2 snorkelling locations in speed & comfort!
GSL Marine - Whitsundays Boat Tour
Travel direct to Whitehaven Beach and create your own itinerary and Whitsunday experience. Explore Whitehaven Beach, the Hill Inlet Lookout and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Complimentary use of equipment and acitivies.
Derwent Hunter Day Sail
Charter our beautiful sailing yacht Derwent Hunter for a day of adventure on the Coral Sea! Snorkel, sail, and relax in the Great Barrier Reef with our skilled crew today!
Illusions II 2 Island Cruise
Illusions 2 allows for relaxation without the crowds and boasts the most snorkelling time out of any other day experience in the Whitsundays! Appreciate the picturesque scenery in peace today!
Choose from two special tours in this family friendly day out on the water! Both will involve visits to the stunning Whitehaven Beach and incredible snorkelling opportunities on the fringing coral reefs of the Whitsundays. Not to be missed!
2 x Full Day Package
Whitsunday Chill and Thrill
Get the most out of your visit to the Whitsundays by combining two of the very best day tours on offer! Chill and sail one day and get your thrills on a high-speed adventure the next! Book today!
Cruise Whitsundays - Twin Island Escape
Can't decide which island? Visit both! If you would like to visit more than one island and want to have time to experience the attractions of each, our 'Twin Island Escape' to Daydream and Hamilton Islands is for you.
Cruise Whitsundays - Whitehaven & Hill Inlet Chill & Grill
See the absolute best of the best with Cruise Whitsundays! This tour covers everything you would expect from the ultimate Whitehaven Beach day out- book now!
Cruise Whitsundays - Whitehaven Beach & Daydream Island Tour
Explore the bright white silica sands and turquoise waters of Whitehaven Beach, before heading over to the beautiful resort island that is Daydream to continue your day in paradise!
Cruise Whitsundays - Whitehaven Beach & Hamilton Island Tour
Whitsunday Island and Hamilton Island hold some of the most iconic locations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Cruise Whitsundays will show you a day out that will quickly become the highlight of your holiday!
Cruise Whitsundays - Whitehaven Beach Half Day Tour
Enjoy a fantastic half day cruise to the stunning Whitehaven Beach with Cruise Whitsundays! Scenic route of the Whitsunday Islands, spending 2-hours at Whitehaven Beach!
Scamper Whitsunday Islands Camping Transfers
Camp in the beautiful Whitsundays with the Scamper Camping Transfer. It’s an adult choose-your-own-adventure with amazing overnight stays in some of the best National Parks on the Whitsunday Islands! Enquire now!
Cruise Whitsundays - Jetski Adventure & Whitehaven Beach
Mix adrenaline and relaxation in the beautiful Whitsundays with the Jetski Adventure and Whitehaven Beach! Spend the morning making waves and the afternoon dipping your toes in the water with Cruise Whitsundays!
Lux Whitsundays Day Sail
Expereience relaxed sailing on board the S.V. Sabatayn with Lux Whitsundays, for a comfortable sailing and snorkelling cruise!
Whitsunday Jetski Tours - 2 Island Safari
$160.00 twin share.
The Whitsunday Jet Ski Tours offer only the best in adventure tours throughout this beautiful region. Ride your own Sea-Doo as you visit beautiful South Molle Island and more today!
Whitsunday Jetski Tours - Airlie Adventure
$125.00 twin share.
Ride your very own Sea-Doo GTI 1500 cc jet ski through the beautiful Whitsunday Island Marine Park on this incredible adventure! Fun for the whole family with no license necessary- book today!
Whitsunday Jetski Tours - Ultimate Island Trek
The Ultimate Island Trek says it all! Enjoy an epic adventure by Jetski to a tropical oasis - enquire now for more details!The Ultimate Island Trek says it all! Enjoy an epic Whitsundays adventure by Jetski to a tropical oasis - enquire now for more details!
Island Jet - Jet Boating
Experience a one-hour exciting offshore jet boat ride through the iconic Whitsunday waters- zooming at high speed with amazing sightseeing thrills and spins! Spread out over a 40km journey of pure adventure, this tour is not to be missed!
Ocean Dynamics - Airlie Adrenaline Jetski Adventure
Explore the natural beauty of the Airlie Beach coastline with a thrilling one hour guided jet ski tour! Perfect for beginners and families- book now so you don’t miss out!
Ocean Dynamics - Whitsunday Wonders Jetski Adventure
For the adventurous traveller- enjoy the longest time possible on a jet ski adventure exploring the stunning azure waters of the Whitsundays! Get your heart racing with us today!
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Whitsundays Fly & Cruise Package Including Lunch
- Experience the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef by plane and boat
- Get a bird’s-eye view of how the islands and reef fit together
- Enjoy stand-up paddleboarding and snorkeling, wetsuits and gear provided
- Comprehensive tour includes 2-way hotel transfers, buffet lunch, and snacks
- See itinerary
- In-flight pilot commentary
- Guaranteed window seats
- Beach time at Whitehaven Beach
- Stand up paddle board
- Professional guide
- All taxes, fees and handling charges
- Hotel pickup and drop-off (Subject to availability) Contact GSL for more information 07 4946 9097
- Entry/Admission - Hill Inlet
- Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
- Air Whitsunday, 1/384 Shute Harbour Rd, Airlie Beach QLD 4802, Australia Check-in is at GSL Whitsundays lounge in the heart of Airlie Beach.
- Port of Airlie, Airlie Beach QLD 4802, Australia
- Not wheelchair accessible
- Near public transportation
- Infants must sit on laps
- Children must be accompanied by an adult
- Not recommended for travelers with back problems
- No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
- Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
- This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
- This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
- This tour/activity will have a maximum of 36 travelers
- For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
- You'll start at Air Whitsunday 1/384 Shute Harbour Rd, Airlie Beach QLD 4802, Australia Check-in is at GSL Whitsundays lounge in the heart of Airlie Beach. See address & details
- Pass by Heart Reef Whitsunday Islands
- 1 Hill Inlet Stop: 45 minutes - Admission included See details
- 2 Whitsunday Islands Stop: 60 minutes See details
- 3 Whitehaven Beach Stop: 90 minutes See details
- You'll end at Port of Airlie Airlie Beach QLD 4802, Australia See address & details
Whitsundays Fly & Cruise Package Including Lunch provided by GSL Aviation
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As one of Australia's premier holiday destinations, the Whitsundays attract thousands of visitors each year. To cater for these intrepid travellers, the Whitsunday Islands offer amazing natural wonders and accommodation options as many and varied as the islands themselves. Find the Whitsunday experience that's right for you, with holiday packages designed to save you both time and money.
By bundling all of your accommodation, meal, transfer, flight and tour needs into one package you can enjoy discounted rates as well as the peace of mind that everything has been taken care of. There are a number of existing holiday packages for the Whitsundays however you can also customise your own, enjoying the control to choose a charming bed and breakfast or luxury resort. Whatever your needs, there's a Whitsundays holiday package that's right for you.
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Whitsundays Island Hopping Tours
by Nick Caroline | Feb 21, 2019 | Whitsundays
All the latest and up to date prices on Whitsundays island hopping tours available to book right here online right now.
We have the lowest prices guaranteed for any tour including student and backpacker options, family trips and even premium personalised packages.
Take a look through our price guide below to help you select a package that fits in with your budget.
To read more about the tour click on the “Book Now” text, this will also take you to a live availability checking system.
If you want to see more pictures about any of the Whitsundays tours go to our homepage or take a look around the blog.
Today you are going to discover details about:
- Whitsunday islands tours
- Island hop Whitsundays packages
- Cruise Whitsundays
- Day trips to Hamilton Island from Airlie Beach
- Whitsunday backpackers sailing tours
- Whitsundays diving options
Our most popular island hopping tours include:
Apollo – Sailing Tour with Scuba Diving as Extra
New Horizon 21-Meter Wooden Sailing Vessel Package
Avatar Trimaran Package
Spank Me – Backpacker Sailing Tour
- Tongarra – Backpackers and Students Tour (catamaran sailing trip)
Freight Train Yacht Package
Fury Speed Boat Tour
To see what it’s like to go on the Apollo sailing tour take a look at the video below:
Remember to take all the appropriate equipment with you on these trips. For more details take a look at the sales pages.
The prices listed below are a guide, when you use the live availability checker they will go up or down slightly for your selected dates.
Half Day Tours
This is a Whitehaven beach half day tour on JetSki’s. This package explores the beautiful Pioneer Bay, Port of Airlie and 2 Islands. This safari tour is around 2.5 hours long and takes you past South Molle Island and Day Dream Island on a thrilling adventure. The tour is fully guided by trained instructors and often encounters Sea turtles, dugongs and sea birds. Each ski can take 2 people.
Price: $280 (two per jetski)
Departure Location: Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach (twice a day)
Departure Time: Morning – 9:00am. Afternoon 1.00pm (last 3.5 hours)
Take in the stunning views across the Whitsundays from the air. Feel the absolute ultimate thrill and way to view the magnificent glory the Whitsundays has to offer. The airport is just minutes from Airlie Beach and you will be provided free return transfers to your accommodation. Jump from the incredible altitude of up to 15,000 feet directly over the crystal clear waters and sparkling white sands of these stunning tropical islands of the Whitsundays.
Departure Location: Check-in shop address: 1/265 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach (across the road from Base)
Departure Time: Varies
One Day Tours
ZigZag Speed Boat Package
This package is the lowest possible price you will ever get for a one day tour around the Whitsundays. It is on board a fast paced speed boat and is the only day trip around that offers a tour of the Palm Bay Resort on Long Island. Not only is this package cheap, it is unique too. Well worth the money and has received amazing reviews.
Departure Location: Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach
Days: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Departure Time: 8:00am. and returns between 4:00pm – 4.30pm
Thundercat Speed Boat Tour
This package is an exciting ride on a catamaran, the boat is so fast it is recommended for those that don’t fare too well on the sea. The one day tour visits Hill Inlet Look Out at Whitehaven Beach, 2 beaches, and 2 snorkel locations. Thundercat is ideal for all travelers including singles, couples, groups, and families.
This one includes Hamilton Island day trips from Airlie Beach.
Departure Time: 9:00AM. and returns later that day at 5.00pm
This is a fast paced day trip visiting Hill Inlet Lookout and the south end of Whitehaven Beach. You will get time snorkeling the coral reefs and have lunch on Whitehaven Beach. The boat itself has 4 engines totaling 900 horsepower, with this kind of speed there will be no seasickness.
Departure Time: 10:00am. and returns the same day at 5.00pm
Whitsunday Bullet (scuba diving)
One of the few trips at this low price that offers scuba diving. Snorkeling is also included, the scuba diving must be pre-booked. The Whitsunday Bullet visits Hill Inlet lookout and the south end of Whitehaven Beach. The vessel was purpose built for speed and comfort. It has a top speed of 25 knots so you can be assured of getting to your destination quickly and in style.
Departure Time: 9:00am. and returns the same day at 4.30pm
Over Night Tours
Many of these trips are from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island. To discover more about each package simply click the “Book Now” text.
This package gives you the chance to sail around the islands on a yacht. The adventure includes a visit to the Whitsunday islands and visits Hill Inlet Lookout at Whitehaven Beach plus 3 snorkel locations. The tour takes 18 guests with 3 crew. The accommodation is dorm style with a mixture of singles and doubles available. This option is best for people looking for a more relaxed chilled out trip with fewer guests on board than most other packages.
Days: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
Departure Time: 8.30am. and returns the next day at 4.00pm
Ride to Paradise Catamaran Tour
This is a very different package to many others. You get the chance to stay at a luxury resort and explore all the wonderful islands by day, absolute paradise. This package is for anyone aged 18 and up. The accommodation has a mixture of private doubles, twin and dorm rooms. Each day you will leave the resort on a fast comfortable catamaran and visit iconic locations around the Whitsundays.
Days: Monday Wednesday and Saturday
Departure Time: 2:30pm. and returns 2 days later at 12.00pm
Tongarra – Backpackers and Students Tour (catamaran sailing trip)
This package is for the youngsters out there aimed at backpackers and students looking for a good time on a budget. The tour visits the best destinations in the Whitsundays including Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet Lookout and snorkeling the coral filled bays that surround the islands.
Days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Departure Time: 2:30 pm. and returns 2 days later at 12.00pm
Blizzard Modern Yacht Package
This tour is onboard a stunning yacht which has been purpose-built for the Whitsunday market. The tour visits Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet Look Out and some of the best snorkeling locations in the world. The yacht is very comfortable with five cabins, three bathrooms and a spacious saloon all below deck.
Days: Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday
Departure Time: 4:00 pm. and returns 2 days later at 2.00pm
Habibi – 60ft Long Steel Ketch Tour
This adventure is onboard a 60ft long steel ketch and is fun filled from start to finish mainly aimed at backpackers and students. The trip is perfect for ages 18-35 who are looking to explore the islands in comfort, the Habibi takes 26 guests and has 3 crew.
Days: Wednesday,Friday and Sunday
Departure Time: 2:00pm. and returns 2 days later at 12.00pm
This sailing trip is perfect for ages 18-35, it is aimed at backpackers and students on a tight budget. You will visit Whitehaven Beach including the famous Hill Inlet Lookout on the Northern End. Snorkel locations can include Luncheon Bay, Caves Cove, Blue Pearl Bay plus many more destinations. With a professional fun crew and a boat built to win races, you will have the time of your life visiting the Whitsundays on this famous Australian yacht.
Departure Time: 1:00pm. and returns 2 days later at 10.30am
Mandrake 52ft Long Ocean Racer Yacht
This is the perfect Tour for anyone wanting to take a small group on a budget around the islands. The trip is perfect for ages 18-35 who want a relaxed atmosphere. You will visit Whitehaven Beach including the famous Hill Inlet Lookout on the Northern End. Snorkel locations can include Luncheon Bay, Caves Cove, Blue Pearl Bay plus many more.
Days: Tuesday,Thursday and Saturday
Departure Time: 3:00pm. and returns 2 days later at 12.30pm
This is our most popular student/backpacker tour of the Whitsundays. The Avatar is the only commercial trimaran in the region. This sailing trip is perfect for ages 18-35. All meals, Linen, Snorkel Equipment, Wetsuits are included in the price. This is one really great deal at an affordable price. What sets Avatar apart from all the other Whitsundays Tours is its size, At 67 feet long and 54 feet wide there is plenty of room to sun-bake on the comfortable nets and watch the Whitsundays cruise by.
Departure Time: 11:30am. and returns 2 days later at 9.30am
Entice – Luxury Overnight Yacht Tour
This modern yacht takes only 10 guests to ensure a more personalised trip of the Whitsundays. Visit Whitehaven Beach including the world famous lookout at Hill Inlet plus snorkel multiple snorkel locations around the islands in the coral filed bays. Private bedrooms are available with their own private bathrooms. You will not find a more comfortable way to travel the Islands.
Days: Tuesday Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
This is the perfect way to experience the Whitsunday Islands on a small budget. This tour is the only boat at such a cheap price that has air-conditioning and large comfortable beds. This sailing tour is one of only a few that has an onboard diving board and a giant inflatable slide. This is a student and backpacker tour. All meals, Linen, Snorkel Equipment, Wetsuits, movie lounge, dive platform, 7metre inflatable waterslide are included in the price. Scuba Diving is available on the tour at $60 per dive.
Days: Tuesday Monday, Thursday and Saturday
Departure Time: 2:00 pm. and returns 2 days later at 11.30am
Atlantic Clipper – Backpackers Yacht Sailing Tour
This tour is for backpackers and students looking to see the area on a tight budget. It is aimed at people aged 35 and below, the clipper has two waterslides and a 6-metre dive platform to ensure maximum fun is achieved. Taking up to 52 guests this massive cruising yacht has air-conditioning, two waterslides, a 6-metre dive platform, 21 cabins, hot showers, a heated spa bath for 12 and scuba dive facilities. The tour is famous for its crew and fun games played onboard. If you are looking for a fun and energetic cruise with social drinks at night, This is the tour for you.
Days: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
O’Nice Whitsundays Two Day Two Night Tour
This tour is on a modern yacht and can take just ten guests at any one time. Visit Whitehaven Beach including the world famous lookout at Hill Inlet plus snorkel multiple snorkel locations around the islands in coral filed bays. This is considered a luxury package with accommodation at the high end of the scale having private double bedrooms with ensuites available. If you are looking for a sailing tour with low guest numbers, comfortable living arrangments and exhilarating sailing then this is the Whitsundays Tour for you.
Departure Time: 4:00 pm. and returns 2 days later at 2pm
This tour lasts 3 days and 2 nights, it also has the option to do some scuba diving. You will visit Whitehaven Beach, Hill inlet lookout and much more. All meals, Linen, Snorkel Equipment, Wetsuits, 1 Free Dive (30 min minimum) is included in the price, no additional unexpected charges. If you want a real sailing tour on a real racing vessel then this is the trip for you.
Days: Monday, and Friday
Departure Time: 8.00am. And returns 3 days later at 3.30pm
If you can’t find the answer to a question you might have on the site feel free to send us an email, give us a call or get us on live chat.
For information about what to take with you on the island hopping tours follow the link.
The Whitsundays island hopping tours are available to book all year round.
Author: Nick Caroline
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How to Find the Best Cruise Deals, According to Travel Experts
Snagging a great cruise deal is easier than you think — so as long as you follow these expert tips.
Courtesy of Princess Cruises
It’s no secret that cruising has become increasingly popular in recent years. According to data from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), nearly 36 million passengers (35.7 million, to be exact) will set sail in 2024, up 4.2 million from 2023. And, despite the industry’s increasing popularity, finding the best cruise deals may not be as difficult as you think — that is, as long as you know when to book (and what to look for).
What’s more, wave season, which takes place from January to March, is when dozens of cruise lines release their best, most value-packed offers, which means it’s arguably the best time to book your sailing. During these months, cruisers can choose from hundreds of different promotions, which, while exciting, can be overwhelming. However, according to Rob Clabbers, T+L A-list travel advisor and founder of Q Cruise + Travel , a Virtuoso agency in Chicago, “the lowest fare is only a deal if it is the right cruise for you.” In other words, he explains that if you “pick the wrong line or itinerary, that deal just turns into a waste of vacation time and money.”
With all this in mind, we tapped Clabbers, along with a few other T+L A-list travel advisors, to share their expert insight on how to find the best cruise deals.
Meet the Expert
Rob Clabbers is a Travel + Leisure A-list travel advisor who specializes in cruises. He also founded Q Cruise + Travel, a Chicago-based travel agency.
Mary Curry is a T+L A-list travel advisor and small ship specialist.
Ashton Palmer is also a T+L A-list travel advisor who specializes in expedition sailings .
Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
Take advantage of wave season.
As previously mentioned, wave season runs from January through March. During this months-long stretch, sometimes referred to as the Black Friday of cruise deals, many cruise lines — from budget lines to small-ship luxury ones and beyond — offer some of the most competitive deals of the year. It’s well worth booking your cruise during these months.
Use a travel advisor.
Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or veteran sailor, the slew of deals, promotions, and special offers can seem daunting: How do you know which ones are worth booking? Which offers the most value? Clabbers explains, “All these options and special offers can be confusing, and a qualified travel advisor who knows their way around cruises may help you find the best deal.” Oftentimes, these folks can “offer extra benefits that are not available when booking directly with a cruise line.” Ultimately, says Clabbers, the best travel advisors are those who can “help customize your trip with hotels, tours, and other services that may be a better value or fit for your style of travel.”
Consider shoulder or low season travel.
Per Clabbers, many cruise lines offer lower fares before or after the peak seasons. “While the weather may not be at its peak, neither are the crowds. If your main interest is visiting cultural attractions and museums or exploring cities, rather than baking on a beach, fewer fellow travelers make for a much more enjoyable experience. Bonus: airfares may be lower, too.” A few examples include an Alaska sailing in May or September (as opposed to peak season, July and August) and a European river cruise in March or October/November (instead of May or September, which, per Clabbers, is considered high season).
Mary Curry, another T+L A-list travel advisor and small ship specialist, echoes these sentiments. “I can't tell you how many travelers are hoping for a 'waived single supplement' or 'two for one' offer and then restrict themselves to only the peak dates for that region.” With that in mind, she says, “It's so much more likely that these specials will be offered for dates where demand is not as high since small ships don't take long to fill for peak dates and rarely need to offer these” on sale or as part of a larger promotion.
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
Put simply, explains Clabbers, “The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to find a lower rate for your cruise.” For example, if you are “very flexible and are looking for a standard room on a large ship on an itinerary that repeats week after week, you are more likely to find a promotional fare.” However, if you’re only open to traveling during a specific timeframe or itinerary (including ones that operate infrequently, such as a world cruise ) in “a category that contains only a few rooms or suites, etc.,” explains Clabbers, “the limited supply will likely result in higher pricing.” Additionally, in some cases, “you may come across a ‘guarantee’ special offer.” In other words, this means that “in return for a lower fare, the cruise line gets to assign your specific room anywhere on the ship, in the category you selected.”
Ironically enough, being flexible sometimes may mean giving up some of your flexibility. For example, says Clabbers, “Some lines, like Celebrity Cruises or Royal Caribbean, offer slightly lower fares if you’re willing to give up some of your flexibility by choosing to pay a nonrefundable deposit instead of a refundable one.”
When it comes to snagging the best cruise deals, booking early is ultimately your best bet — “especially if you’re looking to travel on a luxury cruise line , or for unique, popular itineraries,” says Clabbers. “Lines like Silversea, Seabourn, Explora Journeys, and others aim to offer their lowest fares and best promotions when reservations are first accepted for a new itinerary and will raise fares as the departure date comes closer.”
Additionally, according to Curry, this is especially true on small-ship sailings . “Most small ships are counting on filling all their cabins, so they offer the best deals for travelers who plan early.” She goes on to explain that many small-ship lines have even “formalized this system by offering 'capacity-controlled pricing' that offers the best rates furthest in advance with the rate steadily increasing for the same category cabin as you get closer and the ship fills.”
Finally, keep in mind that some cruises can be booked up to three years in advance, which means it’s never too early to start planning.
Or book a last-minute cruise.
Sometimes, it pays to book late — so as long as “you’re very flexible with dates, itinerary, type of room, or location on a ship,” explains Clabbers.
Ashton Palmer, another T+L A-list travel advisor who specializes in expedition sailings , shares similar insight. “If you are flexible and can travel 90 days or less before departure, cruise lines will sometimes extend discounts.”
Related: The Best Time to Book a Cruise
Stick with one line.
Just as airlines and hotels offer travel rewards programs and perks to loyal customers, most cruise lines do the same, too. Put simply, says Clabbers, “loyalty can pay off.” In fact, “Many cruise lines offer some discounts or credits to spend onboard or other benefits for their returning passengers.” Plus, these programs are free to join, so you have nothing to lose by signing up.
Mark Katzman/Courtesy of Princess Cruises
Cruise with friends or family.
Cruise with your nearest and dearest — and get rewarded for it, too. According to Palmer, cruise lines are often willing to extend a discount “for groups of six or more.” For example, Royal Caribbean , Virgin Voyages , and Princess offer group discounts.
Consider repositioning cruises.
Budget-conscious travelers should certainly consider a repositioning cruise. These unique one-way sailings generally occur at the beginning or end of a cruising season (typically in the spring or fall) when ships need to return to their home ports. Two real-life examples of these itineraries include Celebrity’s Mediterranean Passage Transatlantic sailing (which cruises from Tampa to Barcelona) and Windstar’s Greenland: North Atlantic Odyssey itinerary (which sails from Reykjavik to Montreal).
Keep in mind that these value-packed cruises, which hover around two weeks, feature far more sea days than typical itineraries to account for the travel time between the embarkation and disembarkation ports. As such, you’ll be spending the bulk of your vacation on board.
Nowadays, many cruise lines offer additional perks and discounts that go far beyond the basics (think: free specialty dining, onboard credits, an open bar, Wi-Fi, gratuities, and, in some cases, pre- and post-cruise hotels and/or airfare). Oceania’s Simply More offer, for example, includes shore excursions, specialty dining, Wi-Fi, and Champagne and wine. Norwegian Cruise Line’s beloved Free at Sea promotion offers similar savings, while select sailings on lines like Ponant and Celebrity include flights .
Guests sailing with luxury all-inclusive line Silversea also have the option to add flights by booking the Door-to-Door All-Inclusive package . You may also be able to find — and book — reduced-cost flights directly through the cruise lines. For example, per its website, the Holland America Flight Ease program offers passengers the opportunity “to book air travel featuring flight inventory from most airlines, our specially negotiated low prices, the freedom to change your flights with no change fees, and late-arrival protection with 24-hour assistance. In addition, you can earn frequent flier miles with participating airlines,” according to the Holland America website. Similarly, some lines, including Regent Seven Seas Cruises , offer free two- or three-night land programs and a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay for some guests.
Do your research to see if you’re eligible for additional discounts or benefits.
According to Clabbers, select lines, including Cunard and Princess , offer “extra benefits for certain types of passengers,” including added perks and, in some cases, discounted or free fares. Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines offer special military perks and discounts.
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